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THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 




THROUGH 
rHIRTY YE^RS j 

{ KQ2 1922 

A Personal Narrative 

BY 

HENRY WICKHAM STEED 

AUTHOR OF 

“ THE HAPSBURG MONARCHY ” 

VOLUME II 



London 

William Heinemann, Ltd. 
1924 




First published , November 1924 
New impression , November 1924 


PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



CONTENTS 


CHAFTEK 

XI. 


XII. 


XIII. 


XIV. 


XV. 


VOLUME II 


PAGE 

Wah (1914) 1 

The Campaign of “The Times” — A Disquieting Ru- 
mour — A Well-Deserved Snub — A Wretched Night — 

The Efforts of Herr Baffin — The Exposure of Herr 
Baffin — The Hand of Chance — An Epilogue — The 
Speech of Sir Edward Grey — The “Scrap of Paper” — 

The British Empire at War — Lord Northcliffe’s View. 

The Issues (1914-1915) 36 

The Peace Mind and the War Mind — The Marne — 
Masaryk Acts — Voska and Ivopecky — The Southern 
Slavs — Supilo — Italy and the Triple Affiance — Son- 
nino — “Compensation” — The End of the Triple Al- 
liance- — The Truth Leaks Out — Delcasse — “Perfidious 
Albion” — “Revenge.” 

The Thick of the Fight (1915-1916) . . 79 

A Check — German Prisoners — Petain of Verdun — A 
Magnetic Atmosphere — Facing the Music — A Pro- 
gramme for Peace — The Czecho-Slovaks and the 
Yugoslavs — Masaryk and Bones — The Italian Front 
— King Victor Emmanuel — Nortlicliffe in Venice — A 
Citizen of Minnesota — The General of the Jesuits — 

The Biter Bit — Spain — The Battle of the Somme — A 
Hard Question. 

The Darkest Hour (1916-1917) .... 123 

“The New Europe” — The Serbian Society of Great 
Britain — A Hornet’s Nest — The Lloyd George Cab- 
inet — Caillaux — Pro-German Propaganda — The Aus- 
trian Mirage — The Single Front — Northcliffe’s War 
Mission — Caporetto — “Losing My Head” — The Mis- 
sion of General Smuts — The Advent of Clemenceau 
— Propaganda by Fear. 

Propaganda (1917-1918) 164 

Declaration of Corfu — The Effect of Caporetto — An 
Historic Debate — A Passage of Arms — The War 
Aims Controversy — The “Pact of Rome” — Enemy 
V 



VI 


CONTENTS 


PAGE 


CHAFTEX • 

Propaganda — The Propaganda — My Mission to Italy 
— “Big Bertha” — The Turning Point — The Rome 
Congresst—Homeward Bound — Backsliding — Propa- 
ganda in Italy — Pacifism in England. 

XVI. The Dawn (1918) 221 

Propaganda Against Germany — Propaganda Against 
Bulgaria— Serbian War Aims — A Mystical Word — 
Pashitch and Yugoslavia — A Lively Conversation — 
Italian Apprehensions — Propaganda for Peace — Mr. 

Lloyd George and Peace — Propaganda after Peace — 
Armistice Day — The Empress Eugenie and Clemen- 
ceau. 

XVII. The Peace Conference. I. (1919) . . . 259 

Masaryk as President — Orlando Again — A Plan for 
the Peace Conference — “Publicity” and “The Secret 
Treaties” — The Councils of “Ten” and “Four” — 
Prinkipo — “Big” Powers and “Small” — The Secret 
Treaties Again — Wilson as Arbitrator — The League 
of Nations Covenant — An Editor “In Partibus” — 

The Covenant and the Treaty — Colonel House and 
President Wilson — The Factor of Time. 

XVIII. The Peace Conference. II. (1919) . . . 295 

The Question of Danzig — The Syrian Problem — The 
Bullitt Mission — President Wilson's Depression — 
Clemenceau and Wilson — “Grasshoppers” — Paris 
Again — The Adriatic Question — The Council of 
Three — The German Delegation. 

XIX. The Power of “The Times” (1919-1922) . 339 

The Irish Question — The Dominion of Ireland — The 
Scheme — A Proffered Truce — The King's Visit to 
Ulster — A Hard Decision — The Washington Confer- 
ence — An “Interview” — The Pacific Problem — Bal- 
four, the Presbyterian — The Cannes Conference — A 
Mishap— The Genoa Conference. 


XX. Conclusion 387 

Index . . 401 



THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 




THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


CHAPTER XI 

WAR 

1914 

T HE days between the presentation of the Austro-Hungarian 
ultimatum to Serbia on July 23d and the British declara- 
tion of war against Germany on August 4, 1914, were the most 
formidable period of crisis through which England had passed 
since the Napoleonic era. No useful purpose would be served 
by recounting in detail the episodes that marked them or by 
dissecting anew the diplomatic documents which passed be- 
tween European governments. This work has been ably done 
by others, notably by Mr. J. W. Headlam-Morley in his 
“History of Twelve Days”; and it will doubtless be done 
again by future historians. To me, the issue appealed pain- 
fully simple. Germany and Austria-Hungary were bent on 
war; they were anxious to secure British neutrality; and the 
only chance, no matter how vain it might be, of deflecting 
them from their purpose, seemed to lie in proclaiming that the 
provocation of war by the Central Powers would leave England 
no choice but to oppose them with all her strength. 

Sir Edward Grey thought otherwise. His was the responsi- 
bility of the statesman, whereas the responsibility of The Times 
was that of a great and independent journal exercising some 
measure of trusteeship for the public. Of Sir Edward Grey’s 
honesty and devotion to peace there could be no doubt; and 
though, at the time, I thought he did not go as far as he 
might have gone in making plain the course which England 
must take if war were wantonly brought on, I have since come 
to see, and have publicly admitted that, in the circumstances, 

1 



2 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


his action was wise. The ignorance in which public opinion 
in Great Britain and British Dominions had been left as to the 
true situation in Europe; the failure of the Government to 
prepare an adequate army for a Continental campaign; and 
the vague pacifism and less vague pro-Germanism which in- 
fluenced a large section of the Liberal Party and not a few* 
members of the Cabinet, made it imperative that, if anything 
like national or imperial unity of purpose were to be attained, 
the issues of right and wrong, honour and dishonour, national 
security and national peril should be so sharply defined that 
none but the cowardly or the perverse could evade them. If, 
in any degree, England is morally answerable for the outbreak 
of the war, those Englishmen must bear the blame who shut 
their eyes to the evidence of facts, lulled themselves in illusions 
of eternal peace, listened to the false prophets who declared 
war “ unthinkable ” because it would be “ economically un- 
sound,” and threw the weight of their influence against the 
national preparedness for which Lord Roberts had striven 
valiantly and in vain. 

THE CAMPAIGN OF “THE TIMES” 

Thus, if it was the duty of the responsible directors of British 
foreign policy to be prudent to the point of giving no hint 
of the action that must be taken in certain contingencies, and 
to leave no loophole for suspicion that the British Government 
cared for aught save the preservation of an honourable peace, 
it was clearly the duty of The Times to warn the public at 
home and abroad that, if war were forced upon Europe, 
England would stand by her friends. The discharge of this 
duty was not easy. Mere denunciation of German and Austro- 
Hungarian designs would have aroused controversy in which 
the British journals that drew their information from the 
German Embassy, or its agents, would have enjoyed the ad- 
vantage always possessed by those who are in a position to 
make coloured statements which others may not be able im- 
mediately to refute. Few Englishmen realize, even to-day, 
how strong was then the hold of German official and unofficial 



WAR 


3 


propagandists over a considerable section of the British press, 
many British politicians and wide circles of “ Society.” Simi- 
larly, had The Times merely advocated loyalty to the Entente 
with France, the cry would have arisen that England could 
not fight “ for Alsace-Lorraine,” just as it had already arisen 
that she could not fight “ for Serbia.” There remained one 
argument which none could effectively gainsay. It was that 
England could not suffer Europe to be ruled by any supreme 
military power and that, at bottom, the question for her in 
1914 was identical with the question she had solved a century 
before, against another foe, at Trafalgar and at Waterloo. 
While supporting vigorously Sir Edward Grey’s diplomatic 
efforts to preserve peace, The Times kept this issue to the fore. 
On July 25th it criticized in measured words the unnecessarily 
offensive terms of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia, 
warned foreign Powers not to count upon the effect of domestic 
troubles in the British Isles, and added: 

The danger of a conflagration is very serious to all the Powers, 
but assuredly to none of them is it half so serious as to Austria- 
Hungary herself. She might easily find, were complications to 
follow, that, in order to save herself from a danger which could 
be met in other ways, she has placed the very existence of the 
Monarchy at stake. No effort should be spared to save her and 
to save Europe from so grievous a mistake. 

And, after Serbia had accepted all but one of the humiliating 
Austro-Hungarian demands and had not categorically rejected 
even that one — though no shred of evidence had then or has 
ever been produced to connect her Government with the 
Sarajevo assassinations — The Times wrote on July 27th: 

Peace, indeed, is the first interest of the Entente and the first 
interest of England. Both will spare no efforts to preserve it. But 
any plans which may be based on the supposition that the policy 
of either has changed, or is likely to change, are doomed to dis- 
appointment and to failure. Our friendships are firm, as our aims 
are free from all suspicion of aggression. While we can hope to 
preserve peace by working with the Great Powers who are not 
immediate Parties to this dangerous quarrel, we shall consider that 
end above all else. But should there arise in any quarter a desire 
to test our adhesion to the principles that inform our friendships 



4 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


and that thereby guarantee.the balance of power in Europe, we shall 
be found no less ready and determined to vindicate them with the ' 
whole strength of the Empire than we have been found ready when- 
ever we have been’ tried in the past. That, we conceive, interest, 
duty and honour, demand from us. England will not hesitate to 
answer to their call. 

On July 28th, when the European situation seemed less 
threatening, The Times applauded the “ characteristic indiffer- 
ence to considerations of personal and national amour propre 
where great and urgent issues are at stake,” with which Sir 
Edward Grey had “ taken prompt action in the cause of peace, 
at the risk of what might be considered a diplomatic rebuff.” 
As soon as he heard that Austria-Hungary had broken off 
diplomatic relations with Serbia, he brushed formalities aside 
and enquired whether the German, French and Italian Govern- 
ments would authorize their ambassadors to meet him in 
conference in London in order to find means of arranging 
“ the present difficulties.” At the same time he invited those 
Governments to instruct their representatives in Vienna, St. 
Petersburg and Belgrade to inform the Austro-Hungarian, 
Russian and Serbian Governments of his proposal and to ask 
them to suspend all military operations pending the result. 
But when his proposal was rejected and Austria-Hungary de- 
clared war against Serbia on July 28th, The Times wrote, on 
July 29th, that the people of England 

know what the Serbian war would mean to the whole world. But 
they know, too, that the surest way to preserve that peace for 
which they long, and perhaps the only way, is to make clear to all 
that, if their friends are forced into such war, England will, for 
her part, support them to the full. . . . We trust that our 

fidelity is not going to be tried by the most terrible of all tests. 
We shall spare no pains and refrain from no exertions to avert a 
calamity so dire to all the governments and all the peoples of 
Europe. But should our efforts in this behalf prove vain, England 
will be found as ready to stand by her friends to-day as ever she 
was to stand by them when she was aiding Europe to fling off the 
despotism of Napoleon. 

By July 30th, the outlook was darker. It was clear that 
mobilization was proceeding in Germany and that Russia was 



WAR 


o 


likewise calling out her reserves. • The Austro-Hungarian 
official press was proclaiming that the Dual Monarchy was 
ready to meet all comers, arms in hand, and that its policy 
and the policy of Germany “ move along the same road.” On 
that day The Times wrote that, in the event of the intervention 
of another Great Power in the Austro-Serbian struggle, the 
British Government and nation reserved for themselves the 
most complete liberty of action. It added: 

If France is menaced, or the safety of the Belgian frontier which 
we have guaranteed with her and with Prussia by treaties that 
Mr. Gladstone’s Government in 1870 confirmed, we shall know how 
to act. We can no more afford to see France crushed by Germany, 
or the balance of power upset against France, than Germany can 
afford to see Austria-Hungary crushed by Russia and that balance 
upset against Austrian and Hungarian interests. Upon that issue, 
should it become an issue to be determined by arms, our friends and 
our enemies will find that we think and act with one accord. The 
great [Napoleonic] war lasted for a quarter of a century, and for 
the whole of that time it killed, for all practical purposes, not only 
faction but party amongst us. We knew then, and we know now, 
that when we strike for the vital interests of the Crown and of the 
Nation, we must strike as one man. That it was that gave us 
the victory against the world in arms; that it is, as we feel and 
know, which will give us the victory again if we are forced into 
the field. 

By midnight on July 30th, hopes of preserving peace had 
almost vanished. In the House of Commons that evening the 
Prime Minister, Mr. Asquith, had withdrawn his motion giv- 
ing precedence to the Home Rule Amending Bill and had 
explained that he took this course because the House was 
meeting under conditions of gravity which were almost without 
parallel. “ When the issues of peace and war are hanging 
in the balance,” he said, “ it is in the interests of the whole 
world that England should present a united front and be able 
to speak and act with the authority of an undivided nation.” 
Sir Edward Grey stated that “ we are still working for the 
one great object of preserving European peace,” but that “ it 
has not been found possible for the Powers to unite in 
diplomatic action.” 

The Foreign Secretary could not state publicly, at that mo- 



6 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


ment, that the attitude *of Germany foreshadowed her inter-# 
vention in the war, and that, on the previous afternoon, July 
29th, he had warned the German Ambassador in London 
(Prince Lichnowsky) that, if war ensued, it would not be 
possible to depend on England keeping out of it. Nor could 
he divulge the fact that, on July 30th, the German Emperor's 
brother, Prince Henry of Prussia, on returning to Germany 
from a visit to England, had sent a telegram to King George 
suggesting, as the only chance of preserving peace, that Eng- 
land should “ try to secure the neutrality of France and 
Russia," — so as to allow Austria-Hungary to crush Serbia at 
her leisure. But news of the German mobilization was hourly 
expected, and it was certain that French mobilization would 
follow immediately. Yet, within the British Cabinet and 
without, desperate efforts were being made by the partisans 
of Germany to persuade England to stand aside. In The 
Times office we knew of those efforts, and therefore wrote, on 
the morning of July 31st, that, in the event of a German and 
a French mobilization, the duty of England would be plain. 

We must make instant preparations to back our friends, if they 
are made the subject of unjust attack. That is not merely the duty 
of friendship. It is the elementary duty of self-preservation. The 
days of “ splendid isolation,” if they ever existed, are no more. We 
cannot stand alone in a Europe dominated by any single Power, or 
any single group of Powers. Were our friends to be attacked and 
vanquished, not merely our position as a Great Power, but our 
safety within our own shores would be gone. No concessions and 
no obsequiency upon our part could long satisfy the ambitions of 
the victors. They would apply to us, sooner rather than later, the 
principles of Redpolitik in the harshest and the most domineering 
form. We should be at their mercy; for, did we stand aside when 
the vital interests of our friends were at stake, we should justly 
find ourselves deserted when our own hour of trial came. It is not 
merely our honour which bids us be true to our friends. It is 
consideration for our own welfare and our own security. Were we 
to show weakness or pusillanimity now, none would trust us again. 
We should be hated by the friends we had abandoned, and despised 
by the rivals before whose threats we had flinched. We shall still 
work on for peace; work on for it to the very end; but the hour 
has come when we, too, may have to make instant preparations for 
war. The Angel of Death is abroad. We “may almost hear the 



WAR 


7 


'beating of his wings.” He may yet ip spare us and pass on”; 
but if he visits those with whom we stand, we must pay our share 
of the fell tribute with stout hearts. 

A DISQUIETING RUMOUR 

The final proofs of this article — which, like its predecessors, 
was written by that splendid literary veteran, Mr. J. W. 
Flanagan, who wields one of the finest pens in England — had 
hardly been revised when, towards midnight on Thursday, 
July 30th, one of the younger members of the Conservative 
Party, Sir (then Mr.) George Lloyd, afterwards Governor of 
Bombay, came into my room. “ It's all up,” he said. “ The 
Government are going to ‘ rat.’ ” 

“ You don’t mean that they are going to back down to 
Germany and betray the country? ” I exclaimed. 

“ Yes,” he answered. “ I have just left General Sir Henry 
Wilson, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, who has told 
me what the position is.” 

“ What are the Opposition [Conservative] leaders doing? ” 
I asked. 

“ They are going into the country to play lawn tennis,” he 
ejaculated bitterly. “ Balfour, Bonar Law, and the whole lot 
of them. You forget that Monday is Bank Holiday! ” 

“ Can’t you go and gather them? ” I enquired. 

“ Maxse [editor of the National Review] and I were think- 
ing of that,” returned my visitor. “ We might go in motor 
cars and fetch them.” 

They went to “ fetch ” them — with the result that the 
leaders of the Conservative (or Unionist) Party, met at the 
residence of Lord Lansdowne on the Saturday, August 1st, 
and wrote to the Prime Minister, Mr. Asquith, the historic 
letter in which they pledged their support to the Government 
in the national emergency. Though their letter was not im- 
mediately communicated to the Cabinet, it contributed greatly 
to strengthen Mr. Asquith’s hands and to steady public opinion. 

Public opinion needed to be steadied, for strong subterranean 
influences were at work to bewilder both it and the Govern- 



8 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

ment and to intimidateHhe supporters of a firm policy. On 
Friday, July 31st, the Bank of England raised its discount 
rate from 4 to 8 per cent, and its rate for short loans to IOVj 
per cent. The Stock Exchange was closed sine die , and the 
private banks restricted payments in gold. Shippers paid, 
without a murmur, premiums of 60 and 70 per cent, to insure 
cargoes and vessels against war risks. Though its outward 
demeanour w’as calm, the City trembled on the verge of a 
panic. For some time German banks had been “ unloading ” 
their foreign securities on to the London market; and a large 
German billbroker in London was understood to hold some 
£13,000,000 worth of private British bills. A breathing space 
was obviously necessary for the improvisation of measures to 
meet the emergency, and the leading bankers conferred with 
the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider them. 

These circumstances help to explain, though they cannot 
justify, an attempt which was made, on July 31st, to silence 
The Times. At the urgent request of the head of one of the 
chief financial houses in the City, the financial editor of The 
Times , Mr. Hugh Chisholm, called upon him, and was actu- 
ally told that the leading articles in The Times must cease 
immediately. Those articles, the financial magnate claimed, 
were hounding the country into war. The City of London, he 
declared, was on the brink of a catastrophe such as the world 
had never seen. The only way to avert it would be for 
England to maintain strict neutrality. He produced a letter 
he had written to the head of the Paris house of his family, 
and gave it to Mr. Chisholm to read. The sense of it was 
that a terrible financial crisis was impending, that the writer 
had only £1,000,000 in the Bank of England and £800,000 in 
the Union of London and Smith’s Bank — barely enough to 
meet his engagements, and that his Paris relatives should draw 
no more cheques or bills upon him since he could not pay them. 

When Mr. Chisholm had read this letter, the financial mag- 
nate denounced once more the policy of The Times as catastro- 
phic, insisted that the leading articles must cease at once, and 
that The Times should advocate neutrality. 



WAR 


9 


A WELL-DESERVED SNUB 

Mr. Chisholm, who resented intensely -so gross an im- 
propriety, replied that, though he was not responsible for 
the policy of The Times , he agreed with it; and that while he 
would convey to the editor and to Lord Northcliffe the sense 
of the magnate’s remarks, he could not in any way guarantee 
that they would be taken into consideration. Then he with- 
drew and, to his credit, never saw that magnate again. 

Returning to The Times office, Mr. Chisholm informed Lord 
Northcliffe and the editor, and afterwards attended the daily 
editorial conference. Lord Northcliffe, who presided, said, “ I 
think Mr. Chisholm has something to say.” Chisholm then 
repeated his interview with the financial magnate. He was 
still white with rage. When he had finished, Lord Northcliffe 
asked my opinion. 

11 It is a dirty German- Jewish international financial attempt 
to bully us into advocating neutrality,” I said, “ and the proper 
answer would be a still stiffer leading article to-morrow.” 

“ I agree with you,” said Lord Northcliffe. “ Let us go 
ahead.” 

We went ahead. The leading article on Saturday, August 
1st, therefore concluded thus: 

The policy to be adopted by Great Britain in the last resort 
remains clear and unmistakable. We desire peace and shall con- 
tinue to do our utmost to preserve it. If we feel compelled to draw 
the sword, we shall do so with the utmost reluctance and without 
animosity. For us, whatever may befall, this cannot be a war of 
international hatred. We have nothing to avenge and nothing to 
acquire. In this vital issue we can only be guided by two con- 
siderations — the duty we owe to our friends and the instinct of 
self-preservation. The second reason is the most powerful one, 
and, if necessity arises, must be held to be decisive. We dare not 
stand aside with folded arms and placidly watch our friends placed 
in peril of destruction. Should we remain passive, should the 
fortune of war go - against those whose interests march with our 
own, we know full well that it would be our turn next. None would 
then raise a hand to save us. Peace is not, at such a moment, our 
strongest interest, however dear it may be to us, and however 
earnestly we may strive to maintain it. Our strongest interest is 



10 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


the law of self-preservati6n, which is common to all humanity. 
The armies now marshalling against our friends, challenge, in reality, 
our security not less than theirs. Soberly but resolutely, we must 
play our part in this unprecedented encounter should the need 
arise. And if we have to intervene, the whole country will shrink 
from no sacrifice to emerge victorious from a struggle which may 
even threaten our national existence 

I shall always remember Saturday, August 1st, as the most 
terrible day of my life. It was known that Germany was 
about to declare war upon Russia, and that war between 
Germany and France would follow immediately. The one 
question was whether England would stand firm. Towards 
midday Lord Northcliffe asked me to be at The Times office 
by 4 p.m. to attend a special conference in his room. The con- 
ference consisted of four persons, Lord Northcliffe, a prominent 
member of the staff of The Times , an equally prominent mem- 
ber of the staff of another newspaper which Lord Northcliffe 
controlled, and myself. I should explain that, since I was 
foreign editor of The Times , the European crisis had through- 
out been regarded as my special province, and I had been di- 
rectly responsible for framing, subject to the sanction of the 
editor, the policy of the paper in regard to it. Knowing what 
I knew of the European situation and of the forces making for 
war, I had gone forward on the only path that seemed to me 
right. Therefore, the real burden of responsibility was mine. 
It was probably for this reason that Lord Northcliffe addressed 
me first and said very gravely: 

“ I have trustworthy information that the Government are 
going to ‘ rat.’ We have hitherto taken a strong line in favour 
of intervention by the side of France and Russia. But, if the 
Government give way, what do you think we should do? ” 

“ We have no choice,” I answered. “ If the Government 
1 rat ’ we must pull off our wigs and go bald-headed against 
the Government. ,, 

u Would you attack the Government at a moment of national 
crisis?. ” asked Lord Northcliffe. 

“ Certainly, 1 ” I replied. “ Suppose we wobble with the 
Government. The Germans will be in Belgium and in France 



WAR 


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in a day or two and, discouraged by cair defection, the French 
may not be able to withstand them. Paris may fall in a 
fortnight, unless the French make terms with .the Germans and 
join them against us, as we should deserve to see them do. If 
we attack the Government we may either compel them to stand 
firm, or bring about the formation of a national Government 
that will do its duty before it is too late. Even if we do not 
succeed, we shall have preserved the dignity of The Times as 
a national institution and our influence will be doubled when, 
as is sure to happen, events compel us to make war in self- 
defence. There is really no alternative to a continuation of 
our policy.” 

Lord Northcliffe then asked the opinion of the representative 
of his other newspaper, who said simply: 

“ Attack the Government in a moment of national crisis? 
Impossible! The country would never forgive us.” 

Turning then to the prominent member of the staff of The 
Times , Lord Northcliffe asked his opinion. 

“ We ought not to be in a hurry,” he answered. “ There 
is much to be said in support of both of the views that have 
been expressed. But we do not appear until Monday morning. 
Between now and to-morrow night much may happen. I think 
we should adjourn until to-morrow afternoon.” 

Lord Northcliffe was about to speak when his telephone 
bell rang. His face changed as he listened. When he had 
hung up the receiver, he said, “ I am summoned urgently to 
see some important people. We will meet again to-morrow.” 

Subsequently, Lord Northcliffe told me that the important 
people whom he had been urgently asked to meet were the 
financial magnate who had attempted to silence The Times on 
the Friday, and that magnate’s younger brother. He had been 
told on the telephone that they had news of the utmost gravity 
to communicate. When he met them, they assured him that 
they had received such information of the overwhelming 
military and naval strength of Germany that, if England went 
to war, “the British Empire would be swept off the face of 
the earth in a few weeks.” Therefore they implored him to 
use his influence to keep England neutral. They had made 



12 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

similar representations «to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
Mr. Lloyd George, who appreciated the gravity of the situa- 
tion. If Lord Northcliffe would set his face earnestly in favour 
of neutrality, all might yet be saved. 

How Lord Northcliffe treated them he did not tell me; but 
I gathered from another quarter that their interview with 
him was very brief indeed. 

A WRETCHED NIGHT 

I left The Times office that afternoon feeling more miserable 
than I had ever felt before or have ever felt since. I had no 
reason to suppose that Lord Northcliffe was wavering, but it 
was clear that strong influence would be put upon him to 
make him take at least a middle course. I did not then know 
him as well as I came to know him afterwards, when I found 
him remarkably steadfast under short-sighted or unpatriotic 
pressure. But I felt that, should the British Government 
favour a policy of neutrality, and should The Times not come 
out strongly against it, I could not remain on the staff of 
The Times or, perhaps, even in England. 

In the early evening came the news of the German declara- 
tion of war upon Russia. The Russian Ambassador, Count 
Benckendorff, might, I thought, be able to throw some light 
on the attitude of the British Government. I telephoned to* 
him and he asked me to come to the Embassy. From nine to 
eleven I sat with him there discussing the outlook from every 
angle. My first question was whether he or his Government 
had received, directly or indirectly, any hint of what England 
would do. 

“ We have not been able to get the faintest indication of 
your Government's attitude,” he said, “ not as much as that” 
and he snapped his fingers with an expressive gesture. 
“ Sazonof [the Russian Foreign Minister] keeps telegraphing 
to me every few hours instructing me to beg Sir Edward Grey 
for some assurance of support, but Grey will not say a word 
or give any clue whatever to his thoughts. At St. Petersburg, 
poor Buchanan [the British Ambassador] is sitting in his 



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Embassy while fifty thousand Rushans are singing 1 Rule, 
Britannia ’ outside, and he knows no more than I do. What 
a position I No, I have got nothing, nothing — except a feeling, 
at the bottom of my heart, that Grey is straight. That is not 
much, but it is something.” 

With this meagre comfort I spent a wretched night. Not 
until next evening, Sunday, August 2nd, did the Government 
decide to act. Sir Edward Grey was then staying with Lord 
Haldane at the latter’s house in Queen Anne’s Gate. After 
dinner, a despatch came saying that the Germans were likely 
to invade Belgium. Grey and Haldane agreed that immediate 
action was necessary. They went together to the Prime Min- 
ister, Mr. Asquith, who sanctioned Lord Haldane’s proposal 
that the British Expeditionary Force should be mobilized 
next morning. The mobilization orders were, in fact, given 
at 11 a.m. on Monday, August 3rd. As in the case of the 
Fleet, sundry precautionary measures had already been taken, 
and the arrangements worked very smoothly. 

For some days the German intelligence system in England 
had been busy. Its agents had collected much valuable infor- 
mation; but, thanks to the nous and pluck of a British postal 
official, their efforts were paralysed. On Sunday, August 2nd, 
a number of postal officials who knew German were on duty at 
a Post Office where the mails for Germany were usually made 
up. One of them noticed that many letters from different parts 
of the country were addressed to Charlottenburg, a suburb of 
Berlin. Without instructions and in defiance of regulations he 
opened and detained them all. They contained information 
for the German General Staff. Thus, thanks to the courage of 
this man, who knew that he might be rendering himself liable 
to dismissal and severe punishment, this information was not 
only withheld from Germany, but the British authorities, who 
shrewdly allowed the German spies to continue their opera- 
tions up to and after the actual outbreak of war, were able to 
lay their hands upon them and to dislocate at the critical 
moment, the German espionage system in Great Britain. 

Towards midday on Sunday, August 2nd, I called upon M. 
Paul Cambon, the French Ambassador. Like his colleague, 



14 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Count Benckendorff, ha was utterly ignorant of the British 
Government’s intentions. When I spoke to him of the violation 
of the neutrality, of Luxemburg, which had been announced 
that morning, he pointed to a copy of the Luxemburg Treaty 
by which the signatory Powers guaranteed the neutrality of 
the Grand Duchy (jointly but not severally) and exclaimed, 
bitterly: 

“ There is the signature of England. I have asked Grey 
whether England means to respect it.” 

“ What did he say?” 

“ Nothing, nothing. I do not even know whether this evening 
the word ‘ honour ’ will not have to be struck out of the British 
vocabulary.” 

On December 21, 1920, when M. Paul Cambon had closed 
his long and distinguished career as Ambassador in London 
by presenting his letters of recall, I reminded him of this 
conversation. 

“ Did I say that? ” asked M. Cambon quickly. “ It was 
a very stiff thing to say.” 

“ Yes, M. l’Ambassadeur, you said it and I, though an 
Englishman, took no offence at it, for it was a very 1 stiff 9 
situation and your responsibility was terrific.” 

“ Ah! ” he continued. “ Those were the only three days of 
real difficulty in all the years I have spent in London — the 
1st, 2nd, and 3rd of August, 1914. Think what they meant. 
Your Cabinet had been discussing the European crisis re- 
peatedly. We had relied on the support of three or four 
ministers. Some ministers, but not all, had been influenced 
by weighty representations from important men in the City 
in favour of British neutrality. On the morning of Saturday, 
August 1st, there had been another Cabinet meeting. After- 
wards, I saw Grey, who told me that the Government had not 
been able to decide upon intervention in the war. He spoke 
very gravely. I replied that I could not and would not tell 
my Government that. ‘ After all that has passed between our 
two countries/ I exclaimed, ‘ after the withdrawal of our forces 
ten kilometres within our frontier so that German patrols 
can actually move on our soil without hindrance, so anxious 



WAR 


15 


are we to avoid any appearance of provocation; after the 
agreement between your naval authorities and ours by which 
all our naval strength has been concentrated in the Mediter- 
ranean so as to release your Fleet for concentration in the 
North Sea, with the result that if the German Fleet now sweeps 
down the Channel and destroys Calais, Boulogne and Cher- 
bourg, we can offer no resistance, you tell me that your 
Government cannot decide upon intervention? How am I to 
send such a message? It would fill France with rage and 
indignation. My people would say you have betrayed us. 
It is not possible. I cannot send such a message. It is true 
the agreements between your military and naval authorities 
and ours have not been ratified by our Governments, but you 
are under a moral obligation not to leave us unprotected.’ 

“ I saw Grey again that night and again next morning after 
the Cabinet meeting, but not until the evening of Sunday, 
August 2nd, did Mr. Asquith inform me of the impending 
British mobilization or was I given the assurance that the 
British Fleet would protect our unguarded northern coast. I 
felt that Grey had been with us at heart. I knew that Mr. 
Asquith and Mr. Winston Churchill were with us, too. But 
could they carry with them their colleagues, and could they 
command the support of the House of Commons? ” 

“ You will remember the King’s reply to President Poincare’s 
letter of July 31st, M. PAmbassadeur,” I interrupted, “ with 
its 1 correct ’ but discouraging assurance that 1 My Govern- 
ment will continue to discuss freely and frankly any point 
which might arise of interest to our two nations with M. 
Cambon,’ prefaced by the statement that ‘ as to the attitude 
of my country, events are changing so rapidly that it is 
difficult to forecast future developments’ ? I have heard it 
whispered that the King afterwards called it 1 my wretched 
letter.’ He must have felt it hard to write so guardedly at 
such a moment.” 

“ How could His Majesty go beyond his Government? ” 
replied M. Cambon. “ He is the most constitutional of 
sovereigns, not only formally but on principle. Like his chief 
ministers, and like Mr. Balfour and Lord Curzon among the 



16 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


Opposition leaders, he vg&s with us at heart, and showed it 
as soon as he could do so constitutionally. But it was not 
until Grey spoke in the House of Commons on the afternoon 
of Monday, August 3rd, that we could really breathe.” 

“But surely, M. TAmbassadeur, the Government already 
knew of the German ultimatum to Belgium and had resolved 
on war? The decision must have been taken at the Cabinet 
meeting on Sunday, August 2nd? ” 

“ They may or may not have known of the ultimatum,” 
answered M. Cambon, “ but they did not know of the invasion 
of Belgium. Besides, powerful influences were still at work 
for neutrality. The late Lord Rothschild told me that he was 
called to No. 10 Downing Street while the Cabinet was sitting 
on the morning of the 2nd. He told me afterwards that he had 
worked for intervention, but I was not quite reassured.” 

“ Some people think you were right in not feeling re- 
assured,” I said. 


THE EFFORTS OF HERR BALLIN 

On reaching The Times office early in the afternoon of 
August 2nd the news was less disturbing. The Cabinet had 
met in the morning. According to the information then avail- 
able, the proceedings had been grave but decisive. A strong 
section of the Cabinet had favoured neutrality, but Mr. As- 
quith, Sir Edward Grey, Lord Haldane, Mr. Herbert Samuel 
and Mr. Winston Churchill, were determined to respect, at all 
costs, the British Treaty obligation to uphold the neutrality of 
Belgium, and the bulk of their colleagues had finally sided 
with them. Even Mr. Lloyd George (who, in some Radical 
quarters, had been expected to resign office and to join the 
Labour leader, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald and others, in forming 
a “ Stop the War! ” party) supported the majority. Lord 
Morley, Mr. John Bums and Mr. Charles Trevelyan alone 
carried their conscientious objections to the point of 
resignation. 

The editorial conference at The Times office that afternoon 
was memorable. Lord Northcliffe again presided. Mr. John 



WAR 


17 


Walter, the second largest proprietor, was also present. A 
few weeks earlier he had attended the Kiel Regatta as the 
guest of Herr Ballin, the famous head of the German Ham- 
burg-Amerika line, who was currently known in Germany as 
the Emperor’s “ Ocean Jew.” Mr. Walter produced a message 
he had received at midday from Herr Ballin through Count 
Wengersky, the manager of the Hamburg-Amerika office in 
London. It was typewritten in doubtful English on Hamburg- 
Amerika paper. Mr. Walter explained that he had given Count 
Wengersky to understand that a message of this importance, 
sent by Herr Ballin, practically on behalf of the German 
Emperor, would be published in The Times; and he thought 
it should be published. He handed me the message, which ran 
as follows: 

I hear with astonishment that, in France and elsewhere in the 
world, it is imagined that Germany wants to carry on an aggressive 
war, and that she has with this aim brought about the present 
situation. It is said that the Emperor was of the opinion that the 
moment had come to have a final reckoning with His enemies; 
but what a terrible error that is! Whoever knows the Emperor 
as I do, whoever knows how very seriously He takes the responsibility 
of the Crown, how His moral ideas are rooted in true religious 
feeling, must be astonished that any one could attribute such 
motives to Him. 

He has not wanted the war; it has been forced upon Him by the 
might of the circumstances. He has worked unswervingly to keep 
the peace, and has together with England thrown His whole in- 
fluence into the scales to find a peaceful solution in order to save 
His people from the horrors of war. But everything has been 
wrecked upon the attitude of Russia, which in the middle of 
negotiations which offered good outlook of success, mobilized her 
forces, wherewith she proved that she did not mean in earnest what 
her assurances of peaceful intentions indicated. 

Now Germany’s frontiers are menaced by Russia which drags 
her Allies into the war, now Germany’s honour is at stake. Is it 
possible under these circumstances that the most peace-loving mon- 
arch can do otherwise than take to the sword in order to defend 
the most sacred interests of the nation? 

And, finally, the German people! In them is firmly rooted the 
word of Prince Bismarck against aggressive wars. “ One must not 
try to look into the cards of Fate.” 



18 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


It must be stated ag^jn; Russia alone forces the war upon 
Europe. Russia alone must carry the full weight of responsibility. 

After reading this effusion to the conference I spoke strongly 
against its publication. Ballin had come to England towards 
July 20th and had seen Sir Edward Grey, Lord Haldane and 
Mr. Winston Churchill. It was suspected at the time, though 
not positively known, that he had, at least, a semi-official 
mission from the German Emperor or the German Foreign 
Office — a suspicion which Huldermann’s “ Biography of 
Ballin ” was presently to confirm. Apparently, he was still 
ignorant of German official designs. Indeed, he afterwards 
showed, or affected, bitterness at the way in which he had 
been used as a tool. Though I had never met Ballin, I knew 
enough of his relations with the German Emperor and with 
the German Foreign Office to be convinced that he was merely 
an agent of the German Government and that it would be 
unwise and unfair to the British public, and to Sir Edward 
Grey, to publish his message on the morning of Monday, August 
3rd. On the Monday afternoon Sir Edward Grey was to 
announce the impending outbreak of war to the House of 
Commons, and it was by no means certain how far he could 
carry Parliament with him. It seemed, therefore, highly im- 
politic to allow Herr Ballin to go bail in The Times for the 
pious intentions of the German Emperor whose troops might, 
at the very moment of publication, be making war on France 
or invading Belgium. 

Lord Northcliffe and the editor agreed with these views, 
and I put Herr Bailing message in my pocket. But, towards 
midnight on Monday, August 3rd, a telegraph messenger 
brought me a closed telegram addressed, “ Wolff Bureau, Lon- 
don Times” The Wolff Bureau was the official German tele- 
graph agency. Though we were not yet at war, Sir Edward 
Grey’s speech in the House of Commons that afternoon had 
made it clear that war was merely a question of hours. There- 
fore, without compunction, I opened the telegram. It was 
dated Berlin, August 2nd, but had been delayed in transmis- 



WAR 19 

sion, and it was evidently intended fcfr the London represent- 
ative of the Wolff Bureau. It ran, in German: 

Wolff Bureau 

London Times bringt Erklaerung Ballins zur Lage. Bitte woertlich 
telegraphieren 

Wolff Bureau. 

Literally: 

Wolff Bureau 

London Times is publishing statement by Ballin on the situation. 
Please telegraph it verbatim. 

Obviously the receiving office in London had taken the 
beginning of the text for the end of the address and, imagining 
the Wolff Bureau to be in The Times office, had sent it to us. 
I had the telegram copied; wrote on the original, in German, 
“ The Times is publishing no statement by Ballin "; replaced 
it in the envelope and told the messenger that it should be 
delivered at the office of the Wolff Bureau. 

By a lucky accident we were thus in possession of proof 
that Herr Ballin had either informed the German official tele- 
graph agency of what he had done, or that the sending of 
his message had been prompted by the German Government, 
if not by the Emperor himself; and that, had it been published 
in The Times, it was to have been telegraphed back to Ger- 
many with the added authority derived from its publication in 
the leading English newspaper. In short, Herr Baffin's ma- 
noeuvre was revealed as an attempt to trade upon the good 
faith of Mr. Walter for the purpose of using the influence of 
The Times in England, and the authority of its name abroad, 
to mislead the British and the German public. 

Yet, by the afternoon of August 4th, before England 
declared war, the German Imperial Chancellor had ceased 
to pretend that the Emperor's “ moral ideas are rooted in true 
religious feeling " or that he had “ together with England 
thrown his whole influence into the scales to find a peaceful 
solution." On that day he declared to the Reichstag: 

Gentlemen, we are now in a state of necessity, and necessity 
knows no law! Our troops have occupied Luxemburg and perhaps 



20 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


[as a matter of fact the Speaker knew that Belgium had been in- 
vaded that morning] are already on Belgian soil. Gentlemen, that 
is contrary to the dictates of international law. It is true that 
the French Government has declared at Brussels that France is 
willing to respect the neutrality of Belgium as long as her opponent 
respects it. We knew, however, that France stood ready for the 
invasion. France could wait, but we could not wait. A French 
movement on our flank upon the lower Rhine might have been 
disastrous. So we were compelled to override the just protest of 
the Luxemburg and Belgian Governments. The wrong — I speak 
openly — that we are committing we will endeavour to make good 
as soon as our military goal has been reached. Anybody who is 
threatened, as we are threatened, and is fighting for his highest 
possessions can have only one thought — how he is to hack his way 
through [wie er sich durchhaut]. 

THE EXPOSURE OF HERR BALLIN 

Owing to the interruption of communications by the out- 
break of war, the German text of the Chancellor’s speech did 
not reach London until August 11th. On August 12th The 
Times published it, together with Herr B allin’s message to Mr. 
Walter, but without naming either the sender or the recipient 
of the message. It said only that the message “ bore the name 
of a personage holding a prominent position in Germany and 
standing in a close personal relationship to the German Em- 
peror and that “ it was evidently timed for publication on 
the morning of August 3rd, the day of Sir Edward Grey’s 
historic speech in the House of Commons.” 

For nine months nothing more was heard of the matter. 
But in April, 1915, the New York World received from its 
special correspondent in Germany, Mr. von Wiegand, an 
account of an interview with Herr Ballin in which Herr Ballin 
quoted an assurance given him personally by the Emperor, 
“ I never desired this war. Every act of mine in the twenty-six 
years of my government proves that I did not want to bring 
about this, or any other, war”; and added, in reply to the 
correspondent’s question “ whom the Emperor thought re- 
sponsible for the war? 

We all feel that this war has been brought about by England. We 
honestly believe that Sir Edward Grey could have stopped it. If, 



WAR 


21 


on the first day, he had declared that “ England refuses to go into 
war because of the internal questions between Serbia and Austria,” 
then Russia and France would have found a way to compromise 
with Austria. If, on the other hand, Sir Edward Grey had said 
that England was ready to go to war, then, for the sake of Ger- 
many, probably Austria might have been more ready to compromise. 
But, by leaving his attitude uncertain and letting us understand 
that he was not bound to go to war, Sir Edward Grey certainly 
brought about the war. If he had decided at once, one way or 
the other, Sir Edward Grey could have avoided this terrible thing. 


An account of this “ interview ” was published in The Times 
on April 15, 1915. To it The Times appended Herr Ballings 
message of August 2, 1914, and stated that he was the author 
of it. It thus appeared that, on August 2, 1914, for British 
consumption and in the name of the German Emperor, Herr 
Ballin had thrown the whole blame of the war upon Russia; 
whereas, for American consumption,- nine months later, he 
threw it on Sir Edward Grey. 

After commenting upon this illuminating performance, The 
Times wrote: 

Herr Ballin might render the world a service if he would frankly 
and truthfully state whether the German Emperor did or did not, 
' n or before July 14th last, make to the Emperor Francis Joseph 
a communication so encouraging, and containing assurances of 
•upport so unqualified that the Austro-Hungarian monarch was 
thereby induced to assent to the ultimatum of July 23rd, by which 
Austria prepared her attack on Serbia. We know, on the authority 
of Professor Hans Delbruck’s article in the Atlantic Monthly of 
February, that, in the ultimatum, Austria demanded “ conditions 
which would have placed Serbia under her permanent control; and 
that Count Berchtold, by writing his Note [to Serbia] in terms as 
incisive as possible, placed the Tsar before the immediate alternative 
of war or peace.” But was not the presentation of this “ incisive 
Note,” or ultimatum, a direct result of the German Emperor’s com- 
munication to the Emperor Francis Joseph which, we have reason 
to believe, was read by influential friends of the German Emperor 
before being despatched? Herr Ballin could doubtless tell us these 
things, and much besides — but then he might find it hard to 
prove the guilt of Sir Edward Grey who continued to strive for 
peace until the German refusal to respect the neutrality of Belgium 
obliged him to appeal to the arbitrament of war. 



22 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


This was too much for Herr Ballin. Three days later, one 
of the German semi-official organs, the Kolnische Zeitung , 
quoted this article from The Times as a preface to a telegram 
from Hamburg which had obviously been sent by Herr Ballin 
himself. The telegram ran: 

The intention of The Times is to strike at our Emperor by repeat- 
ing pretended utterances on the part of Herr Ballin, for The Times 
says repeatedly that Herr Ballin then, as to-day, spoke in the Kaiser's 
name. But it has no luck with this new piece of villany. As a 
proof of the art of unscrupulous distortion as practised by The 
Times , we publish below a complete translation of the letter which 
Herr Ballin addressed on August 1, 1914, to the publisher of The 
Times, Mr. Walter, who was Herr Baffin's guest last summer during 
the Kiel week. 

No man of sound mind can discover in this letter the imputations 
of The Times either as to the utterances of Herr Ballin in the name 
of the Emperor or the utterance about Russia falsely attributed to 
him and even quoted verbatim by The Times. But The Times seems 
to think its readers will stand anything. 

The letter which the Kolnische Zeitung published as having 
been written by Herr Ballin to Mr. Walter on August 1st, was 
an answer to a letter of thanks for pleasant days passed at 
Kiel. It contained not a word about the responsibility of 
Russia but, after alluding to the possibility of war, said that 
Herr Ballin would be grateful if room could be found in The 
Times for his view that war, if it came, would be a war of 
defence on the part of Germany, since all the efforts of the 
Emperor and of the Chancellor were directed towards the 
maintenance of peaceful and friendly relations with foreign 
countries. The letter added: 

Everyone who knows the German Emperor will share my opinion 
that it most grossly contradicts his religious views to draw the 
sword unless it be for the honour and welfare of his people, and 
that the thought of a preventive war is inconceivable for a man of 
his views. 

Herr Ballin’s telegram to the Kolnische Zeitung together 
with the full text of his alleged letter to Mr. John Walter were 
reproduced, on April 19, 1915, in The Times , which could only 
profess entire ignorance of the letter and asseverate that Mr. 



WAR 


23 


Walter had never received it. The position was difficult — 
all the more because I had not kept even the original type- 
script of Count Wengersky’s communication to Mr. Walter. 
It had gone to the printer on August 11, 1914, and, like most 
old “ copy,” had been destroyed at the end of six months. 
Therefore we had not a scrap of evidence to support our 
assertions, nor any means of disproving Herr Balling charge 
that we had forged his message. 

THE HAND OF CHANCE 

Two days later, an unknown man called at The Times office. 
When I saw him, he produced the original of a telegram sent 
in German by Herr Ballin from Hamburg at 11:20 p.m. on 
August 1, 1914. It was addressed to Count Wengersky and 
bore the receiving stamp of the West Strand Post Office in 
London at 5 a.m. on August 2nd, 1914, and began: 

Translate the following article into English and call with the 
translation on Mr. Walter, the- publisher of The Times, bring him 
my best greetings and ask him to publish it in The Times of Monday. 
In case Walter refuses you must cause the article to be published 
prominently in another first-class newspaper. Report to me tele- 
graphically in German as telegrams in foreign languages are not 
now forwarded in Germany. War has not yet been declared and 
there is still some hope. The letter for Walter which Knuth was 
to have carried is thus replaced by the present telegram and the 
letter for Lord Haldane I am sending direct by post, so that Knuth 
will not start. 

The text of the “ article ” which followed, corresponded, 
word for word, to the text of the message which Count Wen- 
gersky had delivered to Mr. Walter on August 2nd, except 
that, in his translation, Count Wengersky had suppressed a 
phrase, “ No one but Russia wanted the war,” at the end of 
the “ article.” 

Thus it was proved that not only had Herr Ballin not sent 
his letter of August 1st to Mr. Walter, but that he had re- 
placed it by a telegraphed “ article ” casting the whole blame 
on Russia; and that he had subsequently denied the authen- 
ticity of, and accused The Times of having forged, his “ ar- 



24 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


tide ” when it suited hfm, or the German Emperor, to pretend 
that Sir Edward Grey was responsible for the war. 

On April 23rd, 1915, The Times published an account of the 
incident together with a facsimile of Herr Ballin's original 
telegram to Count Wengersky ; and thereafter Herr Ballin held 
his peace. 

But the story told by the man who brought the telegram 
to The Times office was a romance by itself. It appeared that 
he had been employed in the Hamburg- Amerika office; and 
that when, after the outbreak of war, the British Admiralty 
examined the Hamburg-Amerika papers in London, a large 
number of unimportant documents were left littered about. 
He had collected these documents, made packets of them, 
taken them home and put them in the attic of his house. On 
the day when Herr Ballings denial of the authenticity of his 
message and the text of his alleged letter to Mr. Walter were 
published in The Times , the man's wife happened to warn 
him that, if any of the packets in the attic were of value, he 
had better look after them, since the children had been play- 
ing with them. He went to the attic and found that the 
children had lit a fire in the grate with the contents of some 
of the packets, and that they had placed the packet contain- 
ing Herr Ballin's telegram to Count Wengersky on the fire, 
but that its weight had extinguished the flames. On opening 
the packet he had discovered the telegram which, in view of 
the interest caused by Herr Ballin's denial, he brought to The 
Times . Obviously, the Providence that watches over children 
and drunkards watches also over honest newspapers. 

AN EPILOGUE 

A fortnight later, on May 6, 1915, Herr Bailing performances 
were debated in the House of Lords, where Lord Hylton 
recapitulated the facts, drew attention to the accusations 
against Sir Edward Grey, alluded to the abominable treat- 
ment of British wounded and British prisoners in Germany 
as an indelible strain upon the honour of the German Army, 
and added: 



WAR 


25 


I think this story of Herr Ballin will reflect in an almost equal 
degree on the fair fame and on the honour of German diplomacy. 
I do not know whether the Government will think proper to order 
the printing and the distribution in neutral countries of copies of 
The Times article of April 23 rd, but I think it might be an advantage 
if some course of that kind were taken. ... I am not at all 
sure that the anti-English press campaign of Germany has not 
been propagated even in this country. I received this morning a 
publication called Peace and War , and it contains an article on 
"The Affaire Ballin”; six straight questions to The Times. The 
article, on the face of it, might certainly have been written by 
one of Herr Baffin’s representatives in this country. . . . I do 

not know who is the proprietor or the editor of Peace and War , but 
I observe it contains only one advertisement, and immediately below 
the article. The advertisement is one of “ a delicious chocolate on 
sale everywhere.” 

In conclusion, Lord Hylton asked Lord Haldane whether he 
had ever received the letter from Herr Ballin that was men- 
tioned in the original of the telegram to Count Wengersky. 
Lord Haldane answered: 

The Times has completely vindicated itself because it is clear 
that, in the memorandum which has now come to light, Herr Ballin 
did make the point, and made it very strongly, that Russia was 
the Power to blame for this war. ... All one can say is that 
Herr Baffin has been very unfortunate. I find it difficult to bring 
myself to believe that there has not been some lapse of memory, 
some treachery of recollection in his handling of this matter, be- 
cause the close proximity of the two documents and the divergence 
of view is a divergence which cannot otherwise be explained without 
making a great reflection on his sincerity. . . . The letter to 

which he referred was written to me after his return to Germany. 

. . . There was nothing which remotely resembled the accusation 

against Russia which was contained in the memorandum. It is a 
letter which adds nothing to the matter on which The Times com- 
ments. It was a private communication written to me after Herr 
Baffin had dined with me in London. 


THE SPEECH OF SIR EDWARD GREY 


The prompt action of the pacifist publication, Peace and 
War , in taking up the cudgels for Herr Ballin, was an early 



26 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

instance of the remarkable celerity with which British pacifists 
managed, throughout the war, by spontaneous sympathy or 
otherwise, to keep in touch with German propaganda; a care- 
ful study of this interesting phenomenon would establish some 
striking “ coincidences.” Their attacks on Sir Edward Grey, 
whom they sought to saddle with the responsibility for the 
war, were constant and venomous. Nothing has ever come 
to light, or can come to light, to substantiate against Sir 
Edward Grey any other charge than that of having been so 
utterly devoted to the cause of peace that he did not suffi- 
ciently warn the country of the danger of war. Even after 
he had told the German Ambassador on July 29th that, if war 
came, it would not be possible for Germany to depend upon 
British neutrality, he refrained from giving the slightest en- 
couragement to the French or to the Russian ambassadors to 
expect a British departure from neutrality. Nor is it possible 
to read his great speech of August 3, 1914, without feeling 
that it was the utterance of a man whom a high sense of 
honour had forced into war, not only against his wish but 
against his desperate endeavour. Knowing, as I knew, that 
he had disapproved of the leading articles in The Times dur- 
ing the crisis lest they disturb the peaceful atmosphere he was 
striving to maintain, it hardly needed the experience which I 
had at the Foreign Office on the afternoon of August 3rd to 
convince me, without documentary evidence, how little he and 
his helpers had desired a conflict. 

Sir Edward Grey began his speech in the House of Commons 
towards 3 o’clock. At that hour I called upon Sir Arthur 
Nicolson (afterwards Lord Carnock), Permanent Under- 
secretary at the Foreign Office, and one of the most distin- 
guished of British diplomatists. He asked me how I thought 
“ it would go.” 

“ If you mean Grey’s speech,” I answered, “ it will go 
excellently. He has only to tell the truth and he will have 
the House and the country with him.” 

“ I wish I felt as sure as you,” Sir Arthur Nicolson replied. 
“ There is a good deal of active opposition and the crisis has 



WAR 27 

come so rapidly that the country does not know what it is 
all about.” 

We discussed the situation until a secretary came into the 
room with a strip of paper torn from the tape machine. 

“ They have cheered him, sir,” he said. 

“ Thank goodness!” ejaculated Sir Arthur, in a tone of 
intense relief. 

Soon after 4 o’clock, Lord Onslow, Sir Arthur Nicolson’s 
private secretary, burst into the room. He had come straight 
from the House of Commons. 

“ He has had a tremendous success, sir,” he said. “ The 
whole House was with him.” 

Sir Arthur Nicolson sank back in his chair in the attitude 
of a man from whose shoulders a crushing burden of anxiety 
had been lifted. 

“ Thank God!” he said fervently. “Now the course is 
clear, but it will be a terrible business.” 

Such was the “ bellicose ” spirit in the British Foreign 
Office on the eve of war. If Sir Edward Grey or the Gov- 
ernment made mistakes, they were certainly not the mistakes 
of men who looked upon the prospect of war otherwise than 
with horror. The very caution with which Sir Edward Grey 
developed his thesis in the House of Commons, feeling his 
way step by step; making it clear that, though the fleet had 
been mobilized and the army was being mobilized, England 
was still committed to nothing more than to defend the coasts 
and shipping of France should Germany attack them; and 
dealing hypothetically with British obligations to uphold Bel- 
gian neutrality — for he had, at that moment, no official 
knowledge of the German ultimatum to Belgium and had only 
received when on his way to the House of Commons King Al- 
bert’s appeal to King George for “ diplomatic help ” — showed 
how careful he was, even then, to say no harsh word and 
not to precipitate disaster. Not until later that afternoon 
did he receive official news of the German ultimatum to Bel- 
gium or of the Belgian reply that an attack on Belgian neu- 
trality would be a flagrant violation of the law of nations 
which Belgium was firmly resolved to repel by all possible 



28 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


means; and, in giving this news to the House of Commons, 
Sir Edward Grey merely added, “ I can only say that His 
Majesty’s Government must take into grave consideration 
the information which they have received.” But that night 
he told the Belgian Minister in London that, if the neutrality 
of Belgium were violated, England would make war upon 
Germany, and he caused the following telegram to be sent 
next morning to the British Minister in Brussels: 

You should inform Belgian Government that if pressure is applied 
to them by Germany to induce them to depart from neutrality, His 
Majesty's Government expect that they will resist by any means 
in their power, and that His Majesty's Government will support 
them in offering such resistance, and that His Majesty's Government 
in this event are prepared to join Russia and France, if desired, in 
offering to the Belgian Government at once common action for the 
purpose of resisting use of force by Germany against them, and a 
guarantee to maintain their independence and integrity in future 
years. 


THE “ SCRAP OF PAPER ” 

The history of those hours and days is too well known 
to need recapitulation. Hostilities had already begun in 
several parts of Europe. The Austrians had bombarded Bel- 
grade on July 29th; Sir Edward Grey had rejected, on July 
30th, the proposal of the German Chancellor that “ if England 
would stand aside, Germany would not annex French territory 
other than French colonies,” by saying that “ it would be a 
disgrace for us to make this bargain with Germany at the 
expense of France, a disgrace from which the good name of 
this country could never recover.” On July 31st, the Belgian 
mobilization had been ordered, despite the efforts of a German 
Socialist mission which was sent to Brussels in the hope of 
persuading the Belgian Socialists to proclaim a general strike; 
and, on the same day, general mobilization had been pro- 
claimed in Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Germany. On 
August 2nd, the main British Fleet had assembled at Scapa 
Flow; and, while seven German armies were formed in the 
west, the Germans invaded Russian Poland and Russian troops 



WAR 


29 


entered East Prussia. On that day also, though it was then 
only suspected, not known, Turkey signed an offensive and 
defensive Treaty with Germany at Constantinople, just as, on 
August 4th, Bulgaria was to sign a similar treaty with Ger- 
many and Austria-Hungary. On August 3rd, Germany de- 
clared war on France who had withdrawn her troops ten kilo- 
metres inside the French frontier in the hope of avoiding 
frontier incidents, and Luneville was bombed by German aero- 
planes. On August 4th, the German troops in Belgium set 
fire to Vis6 and began the attack on Liege while, in the Reichs- 
tag, the German Socialists voted the first £250,000,000 war 
credit. On that morning Sir Edward Grey instructed Sir 
Edward Goschen, the British Ambassador in Berlin, to ask 
for his passports unless a German assurance were received 
in London by midnight that Belgian neutrality would be re- 
spected, France having given the assurance on July 31st. 
After an interview, towards 7 p.m., with the German Foreign 
Secretary, Herr von Jagow, who held out no prospect that 
the assurance would be given, Sir Edward Goschen asked 
for his passports; and, later in the evening, had a final inter- 
view with the Imperial Chancellor, Herr von Bethmann- 
Hollweg. 

When Sir Edward Goschen’s memorable despatch describing 
this interview with the German Imperial Chancellor was pres- 
ently published, I felt glad that the world should at last 
be enabled to appreciate the British Ambassador’s sterling 
qualities. As a diplomatist Sir Edward Goschen had not 
been accounted especially eminent. The easy-going good- 
fellowship that marked his official and social relationships 
hid from superficial observers the iron in his character. He 
was always at his best in a tight place, as his handling of 
Aehrenthal at the beginning of the Bosnian annexation crisis 
had shown. King Edward respected him highly and trusted 
his judgment. But his place in history is assured among the 
great representatives of England by his treatment of Herr 
von Bethmann-Hollweg in the interview of August 4th. His 
account of it has often been quoted, but it will bear quotation 
again. 



30 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

I found the Chancellor very agitated. His Excellency at once 
began a harangue, which lasted for about twenty minutes. He 
said that the step taken by His Majesty’s [the British] Govern- 
ment was terrible to a degree. Just for a word — “neutrality,” a 
word which in war time had so often been disregarded — just for 
a scrap of paper, Great Britain was going to make war on a kindred 
nation who desired nothing better than to be friends with her. 
. . . He held Great Britain responsible for all the terrible events 
that might happen. I protested strongly against that statement, 
and said that, in the same way as he and Herr von Jagow wished 
me to understand that, for strategic reasons, it was a matter of 
life and death to Germany to advance through Belgium and violate 
the latter’s neutrality, so I would wish him to understand that it 
was, so to speak, a matter of “ life and death ” for the honour of 
Great Britain that she should keep her engagement to do her 
utmost to defend Belgium’s neutrality if attacked. That solemn 
compact simply had to be kept, or what confidence could anyone 
have in engagements given by Great Britain in the future? The 
Chancellor said, “ But at what a price will that compact have been 
kept. Has the British Government thought of that?” I hinted to 
his Excellency as plainly as I could that fear of consequences 
could hardly be regarded as an excuse for breaking solemn engage- 
ments, but His Excellency was so excited, so evidently overcome 
at the news of our action and so little disposed to hear reason, 
that I refrained from adding fuel to the flame by further argument. 

Sir Edward Goschen’s despatch will stand as one of the 
proudest documents in British history. On the evening of 
August 4th, a Berlin crowd made an angry demonstration 
against the British Embassy and stones were thrown at the 
windows. Next morning the Emperor sent one of his aides- 
de-camp to Sir Edward Goschen to express regret for these 
occurrences but to say that, at the same time, the Ambas- 
sador would gather from them an idea of the feelings of the 
German people. The aide-de-camp added, “ His Majesty 
also begs that you will tell the King that he has been proud 
of the titles of British Field Marshal and British Admiral, 
but that, in consequence of what has occurred, he must now 
at once divest himself of those titles.” In reporting this mes- 
sage, Sir Edward Goschen wrote, “ I would add that the 
above message lost none of its acerbity by the manner of 
its delivery.” 



WAR 


31 


THE BRITISH EMPIRE AT WAR 

A small group of journalists waited at the Foreign Office 
in London on the night of August 4th. The German attack 
upon Liege was not yet known; and some of them hoped 
against hope that, at the last moment, Germany might promise 
to respect Belgian neutrality. I had no such hope. Since 
August, 1908, I had believed that, when Germany made 
war, her forces would pass through Belgium. Within a few 
minutes of midnight it was announced that Germany had 
finally decided to ignore the British request, and that peace 
was at an end. Few then realized what the war would mean. 
The Oversea Dominions were already rallying round the 
Mother Country — Canada had offered help on August 1st 
and Australia had offered 20,000 men on August 3rd — and 
people were confident of the outcome of the struggle. But 
they were so unaccustomed to think in terms of a Continental 
war that their minds could not grasp the immensity or the 
intensity of the conflict to which they were committed. 

This was as true of most members of the Government as 
of the people at large. Upon their duty to fight for Belgian 
neutrality and for the safety of the Narrow Seas they were, 
by this time, practically unanimous. But, had they been 
told, in August, 1914, that the war would last four years and 
three months; that it would cost Great Britain £8,000,000,000; 
that, before it was over, 7,630,000 white men would be en- 
rolled in the British Armies and Navy; that more than 
9,000,000 tons of British merchant shipping would be lost, 
and that the British contribution to the Allied death roll 
would be 846,023, while 2,121,000 would be wounded, they 
would have been appalled. They would not have quailed or 
flinched; for even then, the obscure instinct which is the 
determining element in British minds, warned them dimly that 
the freedom of their country and its very existence were at 
stake. But, for some time, they thought, consciously and 
conscientiously, that they were fighting chiefly for Belgium in 
the first place and for France in the second. Not until the 
war had been long in progress did the British people fully 



32 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

realize that it was their own security as much as that of 
others which they were defending. But at no time during the 
war did the feeling that they were fighting against a dangerous 
commercial rival seriously sway the minds of Englishmen. 
Had they been asked to suffer what they suffered, to pay what 
they paid and to dare as they dared for any merely economic 
reason, they would have revolted against so mean an assess- 
ment of their ideals. Most Englishmen are vaguely, and many 
are intensely, religious in temperament. They need to believe 
in something. It is generally something that appeals to their 
sense of what is right. In August, 1914, they held it right 
to fight in support of their country's word to Belgium and, 
secondarily, in support of their friends. That was all. 

The actual military and naval commitments of the British 
Government were not then such as to foreshadow the exhaus- 
tion of the nation's resources. The navy was thought adequate 
to ward off attacks by the German Fleet and to defeat it, 
should it risk a general engagement. Under the provisional 
arrangements made with France against the contingency of 
British intervention in a Continental war, a maximum expedi- 
tionary force of six divisions, roughly 120,000 men, was con- 
templated. These divisions were of superlative quality, com- 
posed mainly of veterans of the war in South Africa and highly 
trained in the light of the lessons learned there. Not only 
was their physique good, but they could march and, above all, 
they could shoot straight. The French had been warned not 
to expect more than four divisions at first; and the French 
Ambassador in London, M. Paul Cambon, had told General 
Foch that in no case would it be prudent to reckon upon the 
arrival of any British forces in France until fifteen days after 
an eventual German attack. Nevertheless, the first British 
troops landed at Boulogne on August 5th, the day after the 
British declaration of war, and the rest of the four divisions 
followed rapidly. But a shock to British expectations of a 
comparatively short and successful struggle was given on 
August 7th, when Lord Kitchener (who had been appointed 
Secretary for War on August 5th) called for 100,000 volunteers 



WAR 33 

to engage themselves “ for three years, or the duration of the 
war.” 

LORD NORTHCLIFFE’s VIEW 

The appointment to the War Office of Lord Kitchener, who 
had actually been about to leave England at the beginning of 
August, was due in large measure to the public insistence of 
Lord Northcliffe that Kitchener should be placed in military 
charge of the war. Though the non-appointment of Lord 
Haldane was, in some respects, an injustice, inasmuch as he 
had worked devotedly to create a Territorial Army and to 
increase the efficiency of the Regular troops, there was no com- 
parison between the confidence felt in him and that felt in 
Lord Kitchener. From the outset Lord Northcliffe was con- 
vinced that the war would be very protracted. “ This is going 
to be a long, long war,” he said to me on August 6th ; and he 
held to his view against all arguments from people who were 
technically better qualified than he to form an opinion. My 
own estimate was utterly wrong. Even after the battle of 
the Marne, at the beginning of September, I thought the war 
might be over by the spring of 1915; and not until the end of 
1916 did I believe that it was likely to last into 1918. But, 
in one respect, I was, from the first, in complete agreement 
with Lord Northcliffe. Throughout the war he had only one 
thought — how best to damage and defeat the enemy. He 
had, in eminent degree, what afterwards came to be called 
“ the war mind.” He had studied Germany carefully for many 
years; and though his knowledge of the intricacies of the 
European situation was inferior to that of some members of 
his staffs, he had long felt that the days of England would be 
numbered unless she were prepared to throw herself into the 
war, when it came, with all her strength. For this reason 
he had strongly supported Lord Roberts and Admiral Lord 
Fisher. 

Before the war, I had seen comparatively little of Lord 
Northcliffe. In the niceties of my special work he was not 
greatly interested. But he shared my strong conviction that 
Germany was aiming at the mastery of Europe and of the 



34 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

world, and that she would strike whenever she believed the 
moment propitious. I had been, so to speak, “ in the war,” 
since March 31, 1905, when the German Emperor visited 
Tangier; and very definitely “in it” since the Bosnian an- 
nexation crisis of 1908-09. Therefore, the actual coming of 
the war surprised me little, and I felt, if not with the same 
intensity as Lord Northcliffe, at least with equal pertinacity, 
that the only hope for England lay in the utter defeat of the 
enemy, by all means, on land and sea and in the air. This, I 
think, drew him to me and formed the basis of a personal 
friendship that lasted until his death in 1922. He thought I 
had passed the test which, after August, 1914, he applied to 
everyone who worked with him or with whom he had dealings, 
“ Does he understand the war? ” 

It may be fairly maintained that, in August, 1914, nobody 
“ understood the war ” in all its complications, in the vast- 
ness of the issues it raised and in the incalculable conse- 
quences it was to entail. But Lord Northcliffe^ question 
really meant that he divided men into two classes — those 
who felt that there could be no way out except through vic- 
tory, and those who bewailed the loss of peace, or sought com- 
promises, or failed to bend all their energies to the hitting of 
the enemy, constantly and hard, by arms and by policy. He 
had great failings as a man and even as a journalist, extremely 
able craftsman though he was; but none of those who worked 
intimately with him throughout the struggle, can honestly 
doubt that his overmastering passion was to help in securing 
the triumph of the Allied cause. 

This quality enabled and, in a measure, entitled him to 
wield great influence. Whether he always wielded it wisely is 
a question on which opinions differed, and will differ, widely. 
Just as he was indifferent to the details of the negotiations 
that preceded hostilities, so he tended, later on, to be careless 
of the finer aspects of the making of peace. To the precise 
dates of the various mobilizations and to the controversy 
whether war might not have been avoided had this or that 
been done or left undone at the last moment, I too was indif- 
ferent; for I was persuaded that all these things were, on the 



WAR 


35 


part of Germany and Austria-Hungary, mere manoeuvres for 
position and preliminaries to the execution of designs long 
formed and matured. Indeed, the actual declaration of war 
by England filled me with a sense of relief. Once England 
was in the fray, I felt sure that she would see the thing through 
to the only conceivable end; and not until within a month of 
the signing of the Armistice in November, 1918, do I remem- 
ber feeling any serious depression or doubt. Why doubt then 
came, and how it was justified, may appear from subsequent 
phases of my story. 



CHAPTER XII 


THE ISSUES 
1914-1915 

B Y making war on Belgium, Germany helped to save the 
British Empire. Nothing, save a direct attack on Eng- 
land, could so have roused British feeling; and even a direct 
attack might not have appealed so potently to the national 
conscience. British security was certainly involved; but it 
is a peculiarity of the British temperament that the defence 
even of vital interests is never so whole-heartedly undertaken 
as when that defence is also felt to be a moral duty. Had 
Germany respected the pledge to Belgium, the British Govern- 
ment might have hesitated to make war until the German 
fleet threatened the coast of France — and then it might have 
been too late to save either France or England. In any case, 
the Government, and probably the nation, would have been 
divided. But once the Belgian issue was raised, there could 
be neither doubt nor delay. 

A month earlier, few in England knew or cared much about 
Belgium. There was vague fear of trouble between Austria 
and Serbia, and intense interest in the impending civil war 
in Ireland; but, had the majority of Englishmen then been 
asked to define the engagements of their country towards Bel- 
gium, they would have been unable to answer. Though an 
obvious threat to the “ Safety of the Narrow Seas ” or to the 
“ Balance of Power in Europe ” might have disquieted them, 
they would scarcely have sprung to arms on behalf of the 
interests which those phrases connoted. A clear moral issue 
could alone inspire the unanimity of resolve which England 
felt and showed on August 4, 1914; and the supreme German 
blunder was to challenge her security in such a way as to 
make it right towards others that she should do her duty to 
herself. 


36 



THE ISSUES 


37 


Some saw, indeed, that behind the moral issue lay not only 
a question of life or death for England and the Empire but a 
struggle betv. c m two incompatible conceptions of civilization, 
between the Prusso-Napoleonic and the Christian, between 
the Militarist and the Liberal. Germany had become virtually 
pagan, worshipping a deity more nearly akin to Odin than to 
Christ. For many years I had revolted inwardly against the 
doctrines which had come to be her effective creed. Far 
better, I felt, that “ England,” that is to say, all the ideals of 
individual freedom and ordered political liberty that had gone 
out from England through the centuries, should perish in a 
fight to the death with the evil tiling represented by Prussia 
and her prophets, Treitschke, Nietzsche, and Bemhardi, than 
that she should purchase a dubious respite by standing aside or 
seeking an impossible compromise with it. Hence the almost 
joyous relief with which I, like other ardent spirits, learned 
that the die was cast and the battle fairly joined. 

But the practical problem which, in immediate importance, 
transcended all others, was how to bring a people, unprepared 
for a fight of this quality, unmilitary of mind and ignorant 
of European affairs, to grasp what was at stake and to throw 
its whole strength and wealth into the fray. On the Belgian 
issue, with which that of loyalty towards France and also 
towards Russia was speedily linked, the nation and the Em- 
pire were at one with the Government. Dissentients were so 
few as to be negligible. Even in Ireland a wave of generous 
emotion swept all before it; and had it met with a fuller 
response from some British and Ulster leaders, the course of 
events in Ireland might have been other. Eagerness) to 
serve, of which the like had not been seen since the days of 
the Spanish Armada, united all classes; and, if the Govern- 
ment had risen to the height of its opportunity, it could have 
secured ready assent to the principle of compulsory national 
service. The question was, How best to serve? — a question 
which, in the absence of guidance from the Government, in- 
dividuals had to answer for themselves. In my own case I 
decided reluctantly that my place was at home and my duty 
to stay at my post. I was in my forty -third year, without 



38 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


military training but with a knowledge of European affairs 
and of the antecedents of the war which few of my fellow 
countrymen possessed in equal measure. I was, moreover, 
the only Englishman to whom chance had given a close work- 
ing acquaintance with Austria-Hungary and with the part 
assigned to her in German schemes for the mastery of the 
world. From the outset, nay, even before the declaration of 
war, I was persuaded that Austria-Hungary would be the 
pivot of the struggle, and that, unless she were discomfited 
and transformed, if not dismembered, Germany could not be 
truly defeated. This persuasion I shared especially with my 
friend, Dr. R. W. Seton-Watson, a young Scottish historian 
who had studied Austro-Hungarian problems assiduously 
for a decade and who, like me, enjoyed the confidence of the 
principal leaders of the non-German and non-Magyar Haps- 
burg races. Though he had not had my advantage of con- 
tinuous residence and daily work in the Hapsburg Monarchy, 
he knew it from end to end and, to some extent, in greater de- 
tail than I. But my decision to stay at home was influ- 
enced chiefly by the thought that I was responsible for framing 
the foreign policy of The Times and that, with the exception of 
military and naval matters, the whole range of the war would 
come within my province. Though the importance of what 
afterwards came to be called “ the Home front ” was not then 
adequately realized, the business of instructing public opinion 
at home seemed to me more urgent than that of carrying an 
inefficient rifle in the field or of seeking work under official 
auspices. 


THE PEACE MIND AND THE WAB MIND 

If the nation was united and steadfast, there was oetween 
members of the Government a subtle difference which pres- 
ently became dangerous. A few who had long held war in- 
evitable and went into it feeling that nothing mattered save 
the winning of it, found themselves hampered by the per- 
sistence of a peace habit of mind among their colleagues. Had 
it been possible from the beginning to put in charge of the 
war men unencumbered by regretful memories and prepared 



THE ISSUES 


39 


to stake everything upon a prompt mobilization of all the 
national resources, scores of thousands of lives and hundreds 
of millions of money might well have been saved. It was not 
possible; and, for the first two years, policy continued to be 
influenced by men who had believed in and worked for peace, 
and who felt the war to be a dire and unmerited catastrophe. 
They had, in a word, “ peace minds,” and found it hard to 
transmute all their conceptions of policy and conduct into 
terms of war. Their moral strength was great, but they 
could not recover from the shock of seeing the world they had 
known, and had laboured to improve, suddenly turned into a 
bloody hell. And just as they lacked the intensity needful 
for the purpose of hitting the enemy everywhere by every 
means, on land and sea and in the air, by propaganda, by 
organization and by rapid provision of arms and munitions, 
so they underestimated the capacity of the British peoples for 
self-sacrifice. Otherwise they would not have hesitated to intro- 
duce conscription from the first nor would they have deferred 
the conversion of British industry into a definite part of the 
war machine. They relied upon the voluntary principle, not 
perceiving that it must operate unfairly to individuals and to 
the hurt of the nation as a whole. The men who volunteered 
for Kitchener's Armies were the flower of British manhood in 
physique and in brains. Few escaped death or disablement. 
They would have been invaluable as officers and leaders of a 
truly national army enrolled by law with stern impartiality. 
As it was, the best went first, and perished under an unjust and 
uneconomic lack of system glorified as voluntary effort. The 
price of that error England is paying to-day and will pay for 
many a decade. No other nation suffered in precisely the 
same way — but it was the price of the years of unreadiness 
and of the unwillingness of all classes to believe in the reality 
of danger. 


THE MARNE 

The invasion of Belgium, the burning of Louvain, the arrival 
in England of thousands of Belgian refugees fleeing from 
German “ frightfulness the failure of the French General 



40 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Staff to defend the frontier of France west of Mezieres and the 
consequent retreat of the French and British forces south- 
westwards after fighting of which the intensity and the gal- 
lantry were not surpassed during the whole war; the stand of 
Joffre’s main army on the Marne while the German Com- 
mander, von Kluck, swerved to engage it and exposed his 
flank to the victorious thrusts of Generals Maunoury and 
Gallieni and of the British force under Sir John French, kept 
the British public breathless until the victory of the Marne 
turned the tide and warded off the most pressing peril. With 
those operations I am not competent to deal, nor does my 
knowledge of them exceed that of the average layman. 
Military historians are likely long to discuss the adoption by 
the French General Staff of the famous plan “ Number 17 ” 
— which appears to have been based on an assumption that 
the Germans would not pass in strength through Belgium — 
and the various phases of the Marne battle or battles that 
decided, in reality, the course and character of the war. 
“You’re lucky to know what happened on the Marne; what 
devilish clever fellows you historians are! ” said General Joffre 
later on to a young officer who, having written an account of 
the battle, presented a copy of it to his Commander-in-Chief. 
The only contribution I can make to the story of the Marne is 
to suggest a reason for von Kluck’s swerve to the southeast on 
September 4, 1914, when he appeared to have Paris at his 
mercy. It was given me in 1920 by an intelligent French 
military chaplain who had helped to bury the dead on the 
battlefield and had seen the orders and papers found on the 
bodies of German officers. 

“ Von Kluck’s swerve,” he said, “ was inspired by pedantic 
fidelity to the principles of Clausewitz. German spies behind 
the French and British lines had informed German Head- 
quarters that the British Expeditionary Force and Maunoury 's 
Sixth Army were utterly broken. Consequently, von Kluck 
left them out of account and decided to smash Joffre’s main 
army before taking Paris — in accordance with Clausewitz’s 
doctrine that the enemy’s strongest point must be the ob- 
jective of a commander in the field. Therefore von Kluck 



THE ISSUES 


41 


issued an army order to the effect that the forces of Sir John 
French and of Maunoury were no longer to be feared, that the 
main French army to the east of Paris was to be destroyed 
on the morrow and that, after a day of rest for all arms, Paris 
was to be taken. But, while the Germans were swerving 
towards him, Joffre decided to take the offensive on September 
6th; and with the help of the British, of Maunoury’s Sixth 
Army and, later, of General Gallieni’s “ taxicab ” army from 
Paris who cut into the German flank, he drove the enemy 
northwards while Foch thrust a wedge between the German 
forces farther east. Had von Kluck forgotten his Clausewitz, 
he might have taken Paris and have hit the Allies a blow 
from which they would hardly have had time to recover.” 

MASARYK ACTS 

The Allied victory on the Marne was more than a military 
success. In destroying the legend of German invincibility it 
gave hope to the subject peoples of Central Europe, the 
Czechs and Slovaks, the Southern Slavs, the Transylvanian 
Rumanes, and the Austrian Poles. These peoples, techni- 
cally enemy, were in reality supporters and well-wishers of the 
Allies; and in all Allied countries it became a question of 
distinguishing between them and enemy peoples proper. Very 
early in the war I was consulted by the Chief Commissioner 
of Police, Sir Edward Henry, upon the best way of dealing 
with such of those “ alien friends ” as lived in London; and I 
suggested that trustworthy committees of Czechs, Poles and 
other races subject to the Hapsburgs, should be formed to 
examine and answer for the Czecho-Slovaks and Southern 
Slavs of Austria-Hungary, the Poles of Austria and Prussia, 
and the Italians of Austria. Some provisional arrangements 
on these lines were made; and I was brought into touch with 
the “ National Committees ” formed in accordance with them 
and, in particular, with the Czechs il National Committee ” of 
which the chairman was a restaurant-keeper named Sykora, 
and the secretary an illuminator and painter of miniatures 
named Francis Kopecky. They were honest, simple folk, in- 



42 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

tensely grateful for advice and help, and unaffectedly patriotic. 

One afternoon, towards the middle of September, when I was 
about to leave my house, I found a strange-looking man stand- 
ing on the threshold. Thick set, of medium height, unshaven, 
grimy in appearance and in dress, with features of the semi- 
Tartar type that is not uncommon in Bohemia, he seemed an 
unprepossessing fellow. 

“ Are you Mr. Steed? ” he asked, with a strong foreign ac- 
cent and a pronounced American intonation. 

“ Yes,” I answered. “ Who are you? ” 

“ I’m Voska,” he answered. 

“ I don’t know you,” I said. “ What do you want? ” 

“ I have a message from the Professor.” 

“ What Professor? ” 

“ Masaryk.” 

“ Come in.” 

Yoska came in and began: “ I’m Voska, the head of the 
Bohemian Alliance in America. I am an American citizen.” 

“ Where do you come from and when did you see the Pro- 
fessor? ” 

“ I left Prague with thirty American citizens five days ago. 
In an hour I must catch my train to Liverpool with them. 
Before I left, the Professor said to me : * In London, see Mr. 
Steed. Tell him the Russians shoot at our boys when they 
want to surrender. Our boys wave handkerchiefs but the Rus- 
sians shoot all the same. Tell Mr. Steed to find means of 
stopping it. Our boys want to go over to the Russians.” 

“ How on earth am I to stop it? ” I asked. “ Did Masaryk 
say nothing else? ” 

“ No, that was all. He just said, ‘ Tell Mr. Steed to stop 
it.’ ” 

Here, I thought, is a pretty business. Masaryk would cer- 
tainly not have sent to me any man whom he did not trust. 
But Voska’s appearance was the reverse of prepossessing. 
He explained, however, that he had been travelling night and 
day for five days, that he had been unable to shave and that 
he had slept little because, on his way through Germany, he 
had kept careful note of all the German guns and troops he 



THE ISSUES 43 

had seen going westwards. He had made a list of them and 
had concealed it in the heel of his boot. 

I asked him what he did in America and whether he knew 
any of our people. He said he had been expelled as a youth 
from Bohemia for advocating Socialist doctrines and had gone 
to America where, for a time, he had edited a Czech Socialist 
newspaper. Then he acquired an interest in a Kansas marble 
quarry and had made a small fortune which he was devoting 
to the organization of the American Czechs in support of the 
Allied cause, since the freedom of Bohemia could come only 
through an Allied victory. He wished to know how long the 
war would last. I told him that Kitchener and Northcliffe 
thought it would last at least three years. Voska, or one of the 
London Czechs, found means to inform Masaryk of those 
opinions which, as Masaryk afterwards told me, had a decisive 
influence upon Masaryk's activities. They convinced him that, 
in three years, there would be time to work seriously for the 
liberation of Bohemia. 

Voska ^ 's tone was so earnest and his language so simple that 
I gave him a note of introduction to the Washington corre- 
spondent of The Times through whom he presently got into 
touch with the British Naval attach^, Captain Gaunt. When 
he had gone, I sat down to think out ways and means of 
doing what Masaryk wanted. 

I thought of the scene at Prague in June, 1912, when I 
had stood by Masaryk’s side while the assembled Sokols of 
all Slav races sang the “ Hei Slovane.” I remembered that 
Masaryk had criticized the jingo tone of the Czech words, and 
and that the Poles sang to the same air their song, “ Poland 
Is Not Yet Lost.” The chief thing was that all the Slavs 
knew the air. If the Czech troops who might wish to sur- 
render to the Russians were to sing the “ Hei Slovane ” at 
midnight in their trenches, the Russians might be warned to 
take the singing as a signal. The singing of the “ Hei Slovane ” 
by the Czechs would not necessarily arouse suspicion in the 
Austrian Army, because it was the favourite Czech song. In 
any case, this was the only expedient I could conceive. 

But before it could be employed, a message would have to 



44 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

be sent to Masaryk — no easy matter. He would probably 
be under police observation and all his correspondence would 
be censored. A messenger must be sent, and such a messenger 
as not to arouse suspicion. 

The only people who could find him would be the Czechs of 
London. Therefore I applied to my acquaintances Sykora and 
Kopecky. They came to The Times office towards midnight — 
the hour they alwa}' s preferred — and after some considera- 
tion they thought they could find a messenger. A few days 
later they produced him — a sturdy little hunchback, with a 
magnificent hump, whom no Austrian would dream of claim- 
ing for the army. He was an Austrian subject liable to 
repatriation, and was ready to go to Prague out of “ patriot- 
ism,” though not the variety of patriotism which the Austrian 
authorities favoured. I catechized him severely, and when 
satisfied with his trustworthiness, repeated to him in English 
and in German, until he knew them by heart, the following 
instructions. “ Find Professor Masaryk. When you are alone 
with him, but not before, say ‘Steed says the boys must sing 
“ Hei Slovane ” at midnight/ Forget this till you are alone 
with Masaryk and forget it afterwards.” 

As a matter of fact, the hunchback did not carry that mes- 
sage. Another equally devoted Czech turned up in London 
on his way to Prague and took it. When he had started I 
went to Count Benckendorff, the Russian Ambassador, told 
him the story, and asked him to send to M. Sazonof, the Rus- 
sian Foreign Minister, who had once been my neighbour in 
Rome, a request in my name that instructions should be given 
by Russian headquarters to the commanders on the Russo- 
Austrian front that, if the 11 Hei Slovane,” or “ Poland Is Not 
Yet Lost,” were heard at midnight on any part of the front, it 
would mean that Czechs were coming over into the Russian 
lines and must not be fired upon. Count Benckendorff tele- 
graphed the message and there, as far as I was concerned, the 
matter ended. 

It had, however, a sequel in 1918. At that time some of 
the British Labour leaders felt their knowledge of foreign 
affairs to be somewhat inadequate, and they asked me, Dr. 



THE ISSUES 


45 


Seton-Watson, Professor (now Sir) Bernard Pares, and other?, 
to dine with them from time to time and to answer the ques- 
tions they would put. They did not wish to be preached to 
but only to extract from us such information as we might be 
able to give. At one of the first dinners they asked questions 
about the Czecho-Slovak Legion which had been formed in 
Russia by Masaryk after the revolution of 1917 and was then 
marching through Siberia towards Vladivostok. I gave them a 
general account of the Czechs and the Slovaks and referred 
them to Dr. Seton-Watson for more minute particulars. These 
he proceeded to give until Bernard Pares (who had been 
British “ observer ” on the Russian front during the early 
part of the war) interrupted impetuously, saying: 

“ But all this gives you no idea of what splendid fellows 
these Czechs are. When I was on the Galician front in the 
winter of 1914-15, I was awakened again and again, between 
one and two in the morning, by batches of them who had been 
taken prisoners, marching through the camp and singing at 
the top of their voices. Nothwithstanding the bitter cold and 
the early hour, they were as merry as crickets.” 

“ What were they singing, Pares? ” I asked. 

“ The funny thing is that they were singing a song that was 
forbidden in Russia — ‘ Poland Is Not Yet Lost/ ” he said. 

“ That is interesting,” I answered. “ Now let me tell you 
the other end of the story.” 

How many of the Czechs and Slovaks in the Austro-Hun- 
garian Army went over to the Russians under this arrangement 
I do not know. They may, at first, have been only a regiment 
or part of a regiment ; but, as the war went on, the movement 
spread and affected not only the Czecho-Slovaks but the 
Southern Slavs who eventually formed a legion of their own in 
Russia. I know only that my message was delivered to 
Masaryk and that Masaryk passed it on. But, until very 
recently, I had little documentary proof to substantiate my 
recollections. A few months ago, however, President Masaryk 
wrotel me that he had completed a volume relating his activities 
during the war. He added, “ It starts in September, 1914, 
when I sent Voska to you. That was the beginning.” 



46 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

In October, 1914, 1 received a further message from Masaryk, 
by way of Holland, to say that he would be at Rotterdam 
towards the end of the month and wished to meet me or Dr. 
Seton-Watson there. As it was impossible for me to go then 
to Holland, Dr. Seton-Watson went instead, met Masaryk, 
and returned with a general indication of his policy of which 
he informed me and the British Foreign Office. Few under- 
stood at that time the importance of Masaryk’s work or his 
unique ascendancy over the Slav peoples of Austria-Hungary. 
Most British public men thought it a hare-brained business to 
take serious account of him or to suppose that an isolated 
Slovak Professor at Prague, who must be suspect to the Aus- 
trian Government, could render valid service to the Allied 
cause. Even the strength of the Czecho-Slovak national move- 
ment was not understood. Were not the Czechs and Slovaks 
tightly wedged in between Germany and Hungary, with ten 
million Austrian Germans on their flanks? Among prominent 
British statesmen only the late Lord Bryce fully grasped the 
potentialities of the position. The rest of us were compara- 
tively obscure and unknown folk. But we knew enough to be 
sure that we were on the right road, to have strong faith in the 
Austro-Hungarian Slavs, and to comprehend the essential fact 
that there could be no Allied victory without the discomfiture 
of the Hapsburg Monarchy. 


VOSKA AND KOPECKY 

Meanwhile Voska had returned to the United States whence 
he wrote me to ask for advice; but before I could give it he 
had thrown himself into work that became one of the romances 
of the war. Of it I am not able to write in detail. That 
he alone could do. I know only that, through my introduction, 
he got into touch with the British Intelligence Officers in 
America; cooperated whole-heartedly and devotedly with 
them; formed a secret inner organization among the members 
of the Bohemian Alliance; placed one or more of his faithful 
helpers in every German or Austro-Hungarian plot to promote 
strikes and sabotage in American munition works, and thus 



THE ISSUES 


47 


frustrated many a knavish trick; found means of persuading 
the American Government to rescind the order forbidding 
British merchantmen armed against submarines to enter New 
York Harbour; had a shrewd notion of what happened to the 
notorious Dr. Albert’s portfolio on the Elevated Railway; 
kept so sharp an eye on the German naval and military 
agents, Captains von Papen and Boy-Ed, that they presently 
departed from the United States; helped to detect the dan- 
gerous German spy, von Rintelen; and ultimately succeeded 
in causing Trebitsch-Lincoln, the Hungarian- Jewish forger and 
German spy who had been a British Member of Parliament, 
to be laid by the heels. Voska’s organization examined daily, 
for months, the mails of the German Consulate at New York, 
and placed a trustworthy observer in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of the German Ambassador to the United States. When 
America entered the war, Yoska joined the army; and I pres- 
ently met him in Paris in the trim and becoming uniform 
of an American officer. On the roll of men who “ did their 
bit,” Voska’s name should stand high. 

Equal in devotion if not in achievement, for his opportu- 
nities were fewer, was Francis Kopecky. The figure of that 
sallow, round-shouldered, long-haired illuminator and painter 
of miniatures, which haunted my room at The Times towards 
midnight in 1914 and 1915, will never fade from my memory. 
Kopecky was entirely unconscious that he was doing anything 
unusual. He was always apologetic, timid, and fearful of giv- 
ing trouble. Yet, at the risk of his life, he went to the United 
States in 1915 to help Voska’s organization in preventing 
strikes among the workers employed by American munition 
firms. He watched over those of his fellow countrymen in 
Great Britain who had been inadvertently placed in internment 
camps, and he shepherded, with extraordinary tenacity, the 
Czeeho-Slovaks who were at liberty. One night he came to 
me with a mien more apologetic than usual. He had a great 
service to ask of me. The Czechs in England, he said, wished 
to enlist in the British Army but the military authorities 
would not enroll aliens and, still less, alien enemies. Yet his 
flock wished to fight for Czecho-Slovakia by fighting for 



48 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

England. Could I use my influence to induce the War Office 
to accept them? If so, I should render the Czechs a great 
service for which they would be eternally grateful. 

It seemed a hopeless task, but I did my best; and thanks to 
the intelligent support of Mr. Cubitt, a permanent secretary 
at the War Office, consent was presently obtained. Kopecky’s 
face beamed with joy; but he soon returned, more dejected 
than ever. His Czechs, it appeared, had been put into the 
Labour Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, a battalion com- 
posed of all sorts of “ conscientious objectors," ex-Germans, 
and other stalwarts, who enjoyed the collective nickname of 
" The Kaiser's Own." The Czechs, said Kopecky, wanted to 
fight, not merely to work. Could I get them transferred to 
fighting units? 

Once again Mr. Cubitt helped to bring about the desired 
transfer. Kopecky came to thank me; but he was sad and 
diffident. He had a very great service to ask of me. Though 
he was no longer quite young, and had domestic obligations, 
and was not exactly of military build, he felt it was his duty 
also to join the army, lest it be thought that he had encouraged 
the other Czechs to join while he was shirking. He doubted 
whether he could pass the military test of physical fitness; 
but he thought that, if I would use my influence in his favour, 
the army doctors might be told to shut one eye and let him 
fight. 

Whether my representations had any effect or -whether the 
need for men was so great that the army doctors shut an eye 
without instructions, I do not know; but, one midnight, 
Kopecky appeared in my room looking radiantly happy. He 
had passed the test and was leaving next day for training. I 
heard nothing more of him until, some months later, I received 
a postcard bearing the photograph of a strapping, big-chested 
fellow, with close-cropped hair, in the uniform of a gunner in 
the artillery of the Guards. It was signed “ Francis Kopecky." 
Then, in December, 1917, the same gunner called at my house. 
He was home on leave after having been through severe 
fighting at Bourlon Wood and at the battle of Cambrai. He 
looked the picture of health and strong enough to fell an ox. 



THE ISSUES 


49 


He sang the praises of the Guards and said, “ The 1 Tommies 7 
are nice people when they come to know you, but it was a 
little hard at first. They trust me now and I am able to explain 
to them that Czecho-Slovaks are not Huns. I think it does 
good. I am the only alien in the Guards.” Then, as a further 
“ favour,” he asked that, should there be any question of trans- 
ferring Czecho-Slovak volunteers from the Allied armies to a 
special Czecho-Slovak legion on the Western front, I would 
use my influence to have him kept in the British Army where, 
he thought, his work might be more valuable than elsewhere. 
Before returning to the front he asked me also if I could give 
him a photograph of myself. 

I had no photograph, but ultimately found a deplorable 
likeness that had once done duty on a Hungarian railway 
pass. This I cut out and gave to him ; and, until the autumn 
of 1919, I heard no more of Kopecky. Then he telephoned 
to say that he wished to see me, as he had a great favour to 
ask, and he wanted to know whether he might come at mid- 
night “ as usual.” He came at midnight with a brown-paper 
parcel under his arm, tied up with string, which he asked me 
“ as a great favour ” to accept “ as a small token of gratitude 
for all I had done for him.” He explained that he had been 
“ demobbed ” and had resumed his painting. Then he opened 
the parcel which contained, in an oak frame, a beautifully 
illuminated border surrounding a miniature after the lamenta- 
ble likeness I had given him in December, 1917. It hangs in 
my bedroom, and will hang there long, as my most cherished 
souvenir of the war. 

The story of Kopecky is typical of the quality of the best 
Czechs. While some other technically “ alien enemy ” races 
pestered me during the war for help to keep them out of the 
army or to save them from internment, the Czechs pestered 
me to get them into the army so that they might have a chance 
of fighting and dying for their country. When a people — 
which was literally decapitated in the 17th century by the 
Hapsburgs acting as instruments of the Jesuit Counter- 
Reformation, and was thereafter reduced to vassalage and 
downtrodden in every way, with a foreign aristocracy foisted 



50 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

upon it and the whole power of the Hapsburg State used to 
crush its aspirations towards freedom — when such a people 
can preserve the grit and the tenacity to achieve what the 
Czecho-Slovaks have achieved, it has assuredly a claim to a 
better future and a strong title to the esteem and the goodwill 
of the civilized world. 

THE SOUTHERN SLAVS 

Comparable to the Czechs and Slovaks in tenacity, though 
as different in mental and moral texture as Southern races 
usually are from races more Northern, were many of the 
Southern Slavs, or Croats, Serbs and Slovenes of Austria- 
Hungary. Of them there were few in England before the war, 
and the significance of their cause was overshadowed by that 
of the cause of Serbia proper. For Serbia it was easy to arouse 
enthusiasm. The gallantry of her resistance to Austria-Hun- 
gary; the bloody defeats which her veteran troops inflicted 
upon the Hapsburg armies and her position as warden of 
the gate to the East, were quickly appreciated by the 
British Government and the British people alike. But the 
Southern Slav question in itself was little known and less 
understood. To me it was one of the key problems of the war, 
for the Austro-Hungarian attack upon Serbia was intelligible 
only as a wrong-headed attempt to solve it in favour of the 
Hapsburgs acting, consciously or unconsciously, as the agents 
of pan-Germanism. Just as they had failed to deal reasonably 
with the Italian question in the middle of last century and 
had simultaneously misconceived the German question, so the 
Hapsburgs had now, it seemed to me, staked their very exist- 
ence on a far more desperate gamble and had thrown the 
dice so recklessly that the civilized world could not allow them 
to win. Though the main theatres of war were necessarily on 
the Western and Russian fronts, it was, in my eyes, axiomatic 
that the Austro-Balkan issue, out of which the struggle had 
arisen, would continue to govern the whole contest. 

This view I expressed in September, 1914, to Sir Edward 
Grey when, meeting me on the stairs of the Foreign Office, 



THE ISSUES 51 

he took me into his room and asked my opinion on the 
Balkan outlook. 

“ In my opinion,” I said, “ the Allies have no time to lose 
unless they wish the Balkans to go against them. Germany 
intends to control the whole route to the East and will leave 
no stone unturned to get hold of Bulgaria and Turkey. [I did 
not know that she had already got hold of them.] The first 
thing for the Allies to do is to create a moral basis for their 
intervention. They are fighting for Belgium and, indirectly, 
for Serbia. They have proclaimed the sanctity of the rights 
of small nations. England, France and Russia ought at once 
to tell the Balkan States that the Allies are resolved to fight 
the war through to victory and that, in the peace settlement, 
they will give, as nearly as possible, ethnographical boundaries 
to all the Balkan peoples. In the same breath,” I added, “ we 
should ask the Balkan States whether, on this understanding, 
they are for us or against us. Serbia is already with us. Greece 
and Rumania would probably join us. Bulgaria might hesitate. 
An ethnographical delimitation of the Balkan peninsula would 
put an end to Bulgarian dreams of hegemony ; and there may 
well be, besides, a definite understanding between Ferdinand 
of Bulgaria and the Austrians. But, if Bulgaria should hesitate 
and Greece and Rumania were well-disposed, the Allies ought 
to ask the Greeks, Rumanians, and the Serbs to invade Bul- 
garia immediately, before she can mobilize, and to hold her 
hostage until the end of the war. This would also have a 
salutary effect upon Turkey.” 

“ Such a policy would be terribly drastic,” objected Sir 
Edward Grey. “ I doubt if we should be justified in 
adopting it.” 

“ We are at war , Sir Edward,” I answered, “ and if we do 
not forestall the enemy, the enemy will forestall us.” 

I still think that a bold policy of this description might, at 
that moment, have changed the position in Southeastern 
Europe. But many of the advisers of the Foreign Office 
refused to believe that Bulgaria had a definite agreement with 
Austria-Hungary or that Turkey was about to throw in her 
lot with Germany. They thought that Bulgaria could be won 



52 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

over by a promise that she should get practically the whole 
of Macedonia, including Monastir, if not Uskub (or Skoplje) 
which Serbia had won by arms in the first Balkan War and 
had defended successfully in the second. They overlooked 
the consideration that to promise, to a doubtful neutral, terri- 
tory already belonging to an effective ally, would have been 
not only unjust but impolitic, inasmuch as it would have filled 
the Serbians with indignation and would have been regarded 
by them as treachery. Had, however, the Allies promised 
to Serbia, Bulgaria, Rumania and Greece the establishment 
of their several national unities, as nearly as possible in 
accordance with ethnography, the Serbians would eventually 
have found in union, on a basis of equality, with their Southern 
Slav kindred of Austria-Hungary, and in an assured outlet to 
the sea, ample compensation for any territory they might have 
to relinquish in Macedonia; Rumania would have secured 
Transylvania, a large part of the Bukovina and, possibly, 
some portions of Bessarabia, while Greece would have found 
her position greatly strengthened and consolidated. 

No other practicable policy, it seemed to me, had any chance 
of success at that juncture. When, in consequence of British 
blundering, the German cruisers Goeben and Breslau escaped 
from the Mediterranean and reached Constantinople, and when 
the confiscation of the two battleships which had been built for 
Turkey in England inflamed Turkish feeling, it became clear 
to all who had any notion of the true situation at Con- 
stantinople and of the tendencies of the Committee for Union 
and Progress, that the adhesion of Turkey to the Central 
Powers was but a question of weeks. Nevertheless, illusions 
on this score were still entertained by the British Embassy 
at Constantinople and by the Foreign Office, which resented 
so keenly the mild strictures of The Times upon British 
diplomatic action — as revealed in a White Paper on the out- 
break of war with Turkey — that relations between the Foreign 
Office and The Times were completely severed during the 
winter of 1914-15. The whole Government became, indeed, 
exceedingly resentful of independent press criticism and failed 
entirely to understand that, in a great crisis, the support of 



THE ISSUES 53 

newspapers is valuable in proportion as they give it freely 
and from conviction. 


SUPILO 

But before this severance occurred, I was able to bring the 
Foreign Office into closer touch with the Southern Slav ques- 
tion. Towards the end of September, 1914, my old friend 
Supilo, the hero of the Friedjung trial, reached London. He 
had fortunately been mountaineering in Switzerland at the 
end of July and had thus escaped the fate which would cer- 
tainly have awaited him had the Austro-Hungarian authorities 
been able to lay hands upon him. They would have made 
him pay dearly for the failure of their conspiracy against him 
during the Bosnian annexation crisis of 1908-09. I felt great 
relief on hearing of his escape, for I thought that, with 
his help and that of Masaryk, British politicians might pres- 
ently be brought to understand the position of Austria-Hungary 
as the most vulnerable point in the enemy combination, and 
that they would be impressed by Supilo’s natural political 
genius. 

This expectation was fulfilled. The big, lumbering Dal- 
matian peasant, whose massive head seemed to weigh heavily 
even upon his powerful shoulders, whose thick boots and 
inelegant dress bore no trace of diplomatic tidiness, quickly 
won the esteem of Sir Edward Grey and was received at the 
table of the Prime Minister, Mr. Asquith. Though he spoke 
little English, and his French was then excruciating (he spoke 
Italian, German and Magyar fluently besides his native 
Croat) , Supilo’s grasp of the essentials of the European situa- 
tion and his strong faith in the justice and in the vital im- 
portance to the Allies of the Southern Slav cause, gained for 
him the sympathetic attention of all with whom he came into 
contact. In happier circumstances and with a better initial 
education — as a boy all Austrian schools had been closed to 
him on account of a childish demonstration he had made 
against the Archduke Rudolph — Supilo might have been a 
great statesman. To insight and energy he joined a resource- 
fulness that seemed inexhaustible. His worst failings were 



54 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


inability to suffer fools gladly and a domineering impatience 
towards associates more timid or less vigorous than him- 
self. His success in London aroused, for instance, the 
jealous enmity of a dapper Serbian diplomatist whose relations 
with the Foreign Office had rarely gone beyond formal visits 
to subordinate permanent officials. One day this diplomatist 
asked me how it was that an uncouth, hobbledehoy Dalmatian 
of no official standing should be admitted by British states- 
men to confidential intercourse such as the accredited repre- 
sentative of Serbia never enjoyed. He seemed to think that 
some slight to Serbia must be intended. I could not say that 
between him and Supilo there was all the difference that 
separates mediocrity from geniuSj but I soothed him by a 
reference to Daudet’s “ Tartarin de Tarascon.” “ You will 
remember,” I said, “ that, in Tartarin’s conception, the south- 
east of Europe was inhabited by 'les Teurs/ or Turks. People 
in England are not much wiser than Tartarin; and when they 
find a Balkan diplomatist dressed in the latest fashion, with 
waxed moustache and patent leather shoes and speaking fluent 
French, they feel instinctively that he cannot be the real 
thing. But when a lumbering, ill-dressed, outspoken fellow 
comes to them from the region of the Teurs/ they feel happier 
because they imagine that they are dealing with the genuine 
article.” 

What solace the Serbian diplomatist drew from my explana- 
tion I cannot say; but Supilo continued to enjoy the respect 
of the British Foreign Office until his fatal illness and death 
in September, 1917. Had he remained in England during the 
winter and spring of 1914-15 he might have persuaded British 
statesmen of the dangers involved in the secret Treaty of 
London which they negotiated with Italy as the price of her 
entry into the war, and might have led them to offer Italy in- 
ducements less detrimental to her and more consonant with 
Allied principles. But, during the winter, Supilo visited Serbia 
and, after consulting the Serbian Government, went on to 
Petrograd in order to bring Southern Slav interests before M. 
Sazonof, the Russian Foreign Minister. There he found the 



THE ISSUES 55 

mischief already afoot, if not actually done, and was baffled 
in his efforts to prevent it. 

ITALY AND THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

The British, French and Russian Foreign Ministers were, 
in fact, engaged in buying Italy out of the Triple Alliance. 
To some extent they were working in the dark, for they did 
not know her exact relationship to the Central Powers. Her 
true position was revealed only in 1920, when the Austrian his- 
torian, Professor Alfred Francis Pribram, formerly an 
archivist of the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office, published 
his invaluable little work on “The Secret Political Treaties 
of Austria-Hungary, 1879-1914.” In the light of the texts 
of the Triple Alliance treaties, and of Pribram's explana- 
tory comment, a fair estimate of Italian policy can now be 
formed and the basis of Sonnino's negotiations with Austria- 
Hungary for the continuance of Italian neutrality can be 
accurately defined. 

On July 31, 1914, the German Ambassador in Rome in- 
formed the Italian Foreign Minister, the Marquis di San Giuli- 
ano, that Germany had called upon Russia to suspend mo- 
bilization, and upon France to declare her intentions, a time 
limit of twelve hours having been given to Russia and of 
eighteen hours to France. Germany wished also to know the 
intentions of the Italian Government. San Giuliano answered 
that, as the war undertaken by Austria was aggressive and did 
not fall within the purely defensive scope of the Triple Al- 
liance, particularly in view of the consequences which, accord- 
ing to the declaration of the German Ambassador, might re- 
sult from it, Italy could not take part in the war. On August 
1st, San Giuliano informed the French Ambassador of Italy's 
decision, and the French Government informed Great Britain. 
It can have caused little surprise in Berlin, or even in Vienna. 
Austro-Hungarian and German statesmen knew that, in 1913, 
Italy had twice refused to join in a war against Serbia; while, 
according to Pribram, she had left no room for doubt, as long 
ago as the spring of 1896 (when Anglo-German relations had 



56 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

been strained by the German Emperor’s telegram to President 
Kruger) , that she would not take part in a war in which France 
and England should be opposed to the Triple Alliance. The 
Italian Prime Minister, the Marquis di Rudini, had then pro- 
posed that an Italian Note to this effect should be presented 
at Berlin and Vienna, inasmuch as the geographical position of 
Italy and the inefficiency of her military and naval forces 
would make it impossible for her to oppose England and 
France ; but both the German and the Austro-Hungarian Gov- 
ernments rejected the Italian proposal. They also declined 
to renew in 1896 a declaration, which had been attached to 
the Triple Alliance in 1882, that the Alliance was not aimed 
against England. Notwithstanding the conclusion, in August, 
1913, of a naval agreement between Germany, Austria-Hun- 
gary and Italy that unified the forces of the Triple Alliance 
in the Mediterranean, Germany and Austria-Hungary knew 
that it would be hard to keep Italy in line with them in a war 
against England and France. Italy had used the Alliance 
astutely to protect her interests in North Africa, going so far 
as to stipulate (from February, 1887, onward) that, if any 
extension of a French protectorate or sovereignty in any form 
in North Africa should induce Italy to take extreme measures 
in North Africa, or against French territory in Europe, the 
consequent state of war between Italy and France would 
involve war between France and the allies of Italy, and that 
Germany would not only not oppose but would support Italian 
efforts to obtain territorial guarantees against France for the 
safety of the Italian ‘frontiers and of Italian naval positions. 
Having thus placed Germany and Austria-Hungary at her 
mercy, Italy drove separate bargains about North Africa with 
France and England before consenting to renew the Triple 
Alliance in 1902. This was the famous Italian “ extra-dance ” 
with other partners, to which Prince Biilow referred in Jan- 
uary, 1902. Thereafter the efforts of Germany and Austria- 
Hungary tended to prevent the complete defection of Italy 
from the Triple Alliance and to make sure, in the worst case, 
of her neutrality. They felt that while Italian neutrality 
might be of advantage to France inasmuch as it would — as 



THE ISSUES 


57 


it did in August, 1914 — enable France to concentrate against 
Germany troops which would otherwise have been needed for 
the defence of the French Alps against Italy, it would give 
corresponding or even greater advantages to Germany and 
Austria-Hungary. As Professor Pribram observes, the nine 
months of Italian neutrality in 1914-15, albeit a neutrality 
not exactly benevolent towards her partners in the Triple Al- 
liance, brought those partners advantages that ought not to 
be underestimated. “ It is doubtful,” he adds, “ whether the 
German armies could have achieved their great initial suc- 
cesses if Italian troops had immediately appeared alongside 
of the French. On the Eastern theatre it might have been 
catastrophic if, at the very beginning of the war, Austria- 
Hungary had been obliged to withdraw from that theatre a 
considerable portion of her troops for the protection of the 
Austrian frontier against Italy.” 

SONNINO 

Thus Italy accomplished the difficult task of pleasing her 
prospective friends while not altogether displeasing her allied 
foes. With one exception, the leading Italian public men seem 
to have approved of her policy. Giolitti, the former Prime 
Minister, who was in London at the end of July, 1914, hastened 
to inform the Italian Embassy of his conviction that Italy 
ought to remain neutral; and other prominent politicians whom 
Signor Salandra, the Prime Minister, and the Marquis di 
San Giuliano summoned to Rome for consultation, were of the 
same mind. But Sonnino, who was then in Piedmont, re- 
ceived the summons too late to reach Rome before the de- 
cision had been taken. So angry was he when he heard of it 
from his friends at the Rome railway station that he ex- 
postulated against it in the hearing of bystanders, declared 
that the place of Italy was by the side of Germany and Aus- 
tria-Hungary, and vowed he would at once return northwards 
without seeing any member of the Government. His friends 
found it hard to calm him and to induce him not to leave 
immediately. 



58 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


During the last few years of my stay in Austria-Hungary 
my correspondence with Sonnino had been intermittent and 
I had little knowledge of his state of mind. Indeed, it was 
not until the spring of 1918 that I heard of his expostulations 
at the railway station. Since then Giolitti has stated in his 
“ Memories ” that he, too, learned “ on most trustworthy 
authority that, at the outbreak of the European war, Sonnino 
was of opinion that we should have followed our allies; and 
that he manifested this opinion openly to his friends on reach- 
ing Rome (whither Salandra had called him for consulta- 
tion) too late and after neutrality had already been decided 
upon.” But, within a few months, Sonnino’s bearing, if not 
his opinion, changed. On October 16, 1914, the Foreign 
Minister, San Giuliano, died and, early in November, Sonnino 
consented to succeed him as Foreign Minister in the 
Salandra Cabinet. Then began a series of parallel negotia- 
tions with Austria-Hungary and Germany on the one hand, 
and with England, France and Russia on the other, to de- 
termine the future course of Italian policy. Had Austria- 
Hungary been less obdurate she wotild have agreed without 
delay to pay an adequate price — as Germany had urged her 
to do even before the outbreak of war — for the maintenance of 
Italian neutrality. Her refusal enabled Sonnino to put Italy 
up to auction and to secure from England, France and Rus- 
sia on April 26, 1915, terms that were destined to complicate 
the whole Allied position. 

In February, 1915, 1 learned that Sonnino was contemplating 
the contingency of war against Austria-Hungary and that mili- 
tary preparations to this end were being pushed forward in 
Italy. Therefore I wrote him, as an old friend, to say that, 
as far as I could judge of the situation, the eventual partici- 
pation of Italy in the war would be inevitable but that every- 
thing might depend upon the way in which she came into 
it. “ If,” I added, “ she comes into it on a liberal basis, pro- 
claiming as her object the completion of her national unity 
and the liberation of the subject Hapsburg peoples, her task 
will be far easier than most Italians imagine.” I explained 
that she would have the support of the Czechs, the Slovaks, 



THE ISSUES 


59 


the Southern Slavs and probably of the Rumanes, for I knew, 
from conversations with Sonnino in 1904 and 1907, that his 
views upon Austria-Hungary were antiquated and that he had 
little notion of the strength of the national movements among 
the subject Hapsburg races. Moreover, he shared, to a degree 
surprising in a man so cultivated, the prevailing Italian il- 
lusion that the eastern shore of the Adriatic was mainly Italian 
in spirit and in racial character. 

Sonnino told me in 1916 that he received my letter but had 
not answered it because he thought my views mistaken. He 
did not believe, even then, that Austria-Hungary could be 
entirely defeated; and he seemed to expect that, at best, Italy 
might secure by war the concessions which she had failed to 
extract from Austria by negotiation. The Italian Green Book, 
issued in 1915, shows that he negotiated with Austria like 
a lawyer seeking to get compensation for breach of contract. 
Article VII of the Triple Alliance bound Austria-Hungary and 
Italy to use their influence to prevent changes disadvantage- 
ous to themselves in the Balkan situation and engaged them 
to exchange all information upon the subject which they might 
receive. It added: “ Nevertheless, in case events should 
render impossible the maintenance of the status quo in the 
Balkans or on the Turkish coasts and islands in the Adriatic 
and in the jEgean, either in consequence of the action of a 
third Power or otherwise, and Austria-Hungary or Italy 
should be obliged to change the status quo by a temporary or 
permanent occupation, this occupation will not take place 
without a previous agreement between the two Powers based 
upon the principle of a reciprocal compensation for every ad- 
vantage, territorial or other, that each of them might obtain 
over and above the present position and giving satisfaction to 
the interests and well-founded claims of the two parties.” 

“ COMPENSATION ” 

This provision dated from 1887, when the Austro-Hungarian 
Foreign Minister, Count Kalnoky, reluctantly consented, under 
strong pressure from Berlin, to make it the subject of a sep- 



60 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


arate Austro-Italian agreement. In 1891 it was incorporated, 
as Article VII, in the text of the Triple Alliance itself. There- 
after it became a constant bone of contention between Vienna 
and Rome; but not until December 9, 1914, when Sonnino 
raised, in a despatch to Vienna, the question of the compensa- 
tion due to Italy for the Austro-Hungarian advance against 
Serbia without previous consultation and agreement with 
Italy, was its value really put to the proof. Count Berchtold, 
the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister, replied to Sonnino 
on December 12th, that the Austro-Hungarian occupation of 
Serbian territory was neither temporary nor permanent but 
merely “ momentary ” ; and that, consequently, Article VII 
did not apply — an answer not devoid of humour inasmuch 
as the Serbian Army had taken the offensive against the Aus- 
trians on December 4th, had forced them to retreat on De- 
cember 6th, had defeated them to the south of Belgrade 
on December 8th, had retaken the town of Valievo on De- 
cember 9th, and were pursuing them hotly on December 12th. 
By the 13th, the Austro-Hungarian rout in Serbia was com- 
plete; and on the 15th Marshal Putnik, the Serbian Com- 
mander-in-Chief, enabled King Peter to return to Belgrade 
after having cleared Serbian territory of the enemy, captured 
more than 60,000 prisoners and taken 200 guns. Despite, or 
because of, this setback, Sonnino pressed his enquiries; and, 
after Count Berchtold had been succeeded by Baron Burian 
as Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister on January 13, 1915, 
German pressure induced Austria-Hungary to discuss the 
question of compensation with Italy. Burian’s first suggestion 
was that Italy should take as compensation territory belonging 
to others, but Sonnino insisted that the price for Italy’s neu- 
trality must be paid in territory belonging to Austria and 
that the territory must not be merely promised but handed 
over immediately upon the conclusion of an agreement. 
Throughout the early months of 1915 the negotiations con- 
tinued, though the Duke Avarna, Italian Ambassador in 
Vienna, warned Sonnino on February 22nd that the Apstro- 
Hungarian Government “ will never, under present conditions, 
consent to the cession of territories belonging to the Mon- 



THE ISSUES 


61 


archy ” Nevertheless, on March 27th, Burian did suggest that 
Austria should cede to Italy, at the end of the war, a part of 
the Southern Tyrol comprising the city of Trent; but he de- 
clined to consider any immediate cession. 

THE END OF THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

Early in April, Germany and Austria-Hungary spread ru- 
mours that they were contemplating a separate peace with 
Russia — by way of persuading Italy that, unless she came 
promptly to terms with Austria-Hungary, she might have to 
face the whole Austro-Hungarian Army. Sonnino therefore 
made haste. He demanded from Austria-Hungary extensive 
cessions of territory in the Southern Tyrol and in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Adriatic, up to within a stone’s throw of 
Trieste; the separation of the city and territory of Trieste from 
Austria, and their erection into an autonomous and indepen- 
dent State; the cession to Italy of a large number of Dalmatian 
islands; the recognition by Austria-Hungary of Italy’s full 
sovereignty over Valona, the chief Albanian port; and an 
undertaking that Austria-Hungary was no longer interested in 
Albania. In return, he was prepared to give, on behalf of 
Italy, a declaration of “perfect neutrality throughout the 
present war in regard to Austria-Hungary and Germany.” 

These conditions having been rejected by Baron Burian, 
Sonnino — who had concluded on April 26th the Treaty of 
London with England, France and Russia — informed him 
that it would be useless to maintain the formal appearance of 
an alliance which could only serve to dissemble the reality of 
continual mistrust and daily opposition, and that Italy there- 
fore resumed her complete liberty of action and “ declares as 
cancelled and as henceforth without effect her Treaty of Al- 
liance with Austria-Hungary.” In view of Sonnino’s original 
opinion that Italy ought to have joined Germany and Austria- 
Hungary against England, France and Russia, special interest 
attaches to the following passage of the despatch in which he 
put an end to the Triple Alliance: 



62 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

By disregarding the obligations imposed by the Treaty, Austria- 
Hungary profoundly disturbed the Balkan status quo , and created 
a situation from which she alone would profit to the detriment of 
interests of the greatest importance which her Ally had so often 
affirmed and proclaimed. 

So flagrant a violation of the letter and the spirit of the Treaty 
not only justified Italy’s refusal to place herself on the side of her 
Allies in a war provoked without previous notice to her, but at 
the same time deprived the Alliance of its essential character and 
of its raison d’etre. 


THE TREATY OF LONDON 

No trace of idealism or sentiment is to be found in the 
Italian Green Book which records the chief phases of these 
negotiations — just as little, in fact, as Sonnino showed in the 
negotiations which he conducted concurrently with England, 
France and Russia. The Treaty of London provided for the 
conclusion of a military convention to settle the minimum 
number of troops to be employed by Russia against Austria- 
Hungary so as to prevent the concentration of the whole 
Austro-Hungarian Army against Italy; while Italy, for her 
part, undertook to use all her resources in making war jointly 
with France, Great Britain and Russia “against all their 
enemies.” (In practice, Italy failed to declare or to make war 
upon Germany until August 27, 1916, fifteen months after her 
declaration of war against Austria-Hungary.) The Treaty 
engaged the French and British fleets to render active and 
permanent assistance to Italy until the Austro-Hungarian 
fleet should have been destroyed or peace concluded; and 
promised to Italy that, at the Peace, she should receive Cis- 
alpine Tyrol up to the Brenner frontier, the counties of Gorizia 
and Gradisca as well as Trieste, the whole of Istria with the 
larger and most of the smaller Istrian Islands, the province 
of Dalmatia with the islands to the north and west of the 
Dalmatian coast, while the rest of the eastern shore of the 
Adriatic and all the islands not given to Italy (with the ex- 
ception of the Montenegrin coast) should be neutralized. In 
addition, Italy was promised full sovereignty over the Albanian 
port of Valona, the island of Saseno, and surrounding 



THE ISSUES 


63 


territory of sufficient extent to ensure their defence, though 
Italy agreed that Albania itself should be divided between 
Montenegro, Serbia and Greece if France, England and Rus- 
sia should so desire. In the iEgean, Italy was to have full 
sovereignty over the Greek islands of the Dodecanese under 
her occupation; and, in the event of the partition of Turkey, 
a portion of Turkish territory in Asia Minor. She was prom- 
ised also territorial compensation from France and England 
in Africa should they increase their colonial possessions at 
the expense of Germany; a loan of £50,000,000 from Great 
Britain; and the support of the Allies in opposing the intro- 
duction of a representative of the Holy See in any peace 
negotiations or in the settlement of questions raised by the 
war. In return, Italy promised to take the field within a 
month of the signing of the Treaty. The whole Treaty was 
to remain secret. 

Had the French and British Governments deliberately set 
themselves to stultify the principles on which the Allied peo- 
ples believed they were fighting the war — respect for the 
rights of small peoples as opposed to the strategic requirements 
of Great Powers, the principle of democratic freedom as op- 
posed to militarism, the idea, in short, of government by con- 
sent of the governed as against the imposition of government 
by force — they could hardly have set their hands to a more 
effective document than the Treaty of London. They prom- 
ised to make over to Italy a zone in the Tyrol inhabited not by 
Italians but by Germans ; to give her, similarly, wide districts 
to the northwest and east of Trieste inhabited principally by 
Southern Slavs; to make over to her the whole province of 
Dalmatia of which the population was ninety-six per cent. 
Southern Slav and less than four per cent. Italian; to estab- 
lish her rule over Albanians at Valona and over Greeks in the 
iEgean Islands — in short, to enable her, in the name of the 
strategic principle, to create centres of disaffection and unrest 
and to present her with a military frontier of which the ef- 
fective defence would be beyond her own strength. At the 
time when the Treaty of London was negotiated, none of the 
parties to it believed in the complete overthrow of Austria- 



64 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Hungary. Sonnino imagined that the Treaty would strengthen 
Italy against a presumably weakened but still powerful Haps- 
burg Monarchy whose outlets to the sea Italy would virtually 
control. In the worst case he thought that the ample spoils 
promised to Italy would give her many counters to bargain 
with in the event of a negotiated peace. Between the summer 
of 1916 and the spring of 1918 I frequently discussed the 
Treaty with him, both verbally and in writing, and found him 
entirely inaccessible to the larger view of Italian interests 
which I had urged upon him in February, 1915, and which 
wiser Italians certainly shared. His intelligence, formerly 
keen, seemed to have become ossified with advancing years. 
His one idea was to secure a written pledge from the Allies, 
seeing that he had been unable, even with the support of 
Germany, to extract from Austria-Hungary a sufficient price 
for Italian neutrality — and he counted that, however bit- 
terly the Allies might presently regret their bargain, they 
would not dare to treat it as a “ scrap of paper/ 7 

In this respect he reckoned well; but in other respects the 
Treaty was a woful miscalculation. Though it was meant to 
be kept secret, its main provisions were, in point of fact, known 
in Serbia, France, England and Austria-Hungary within a 
week of its conclusion. 

THE TRUTH LEAKS OUT 

Rumours that dangerous negotiations were in progress spread 
in London during the first fortnight of April. Both Seton- 
Watson and I heard them; yet when I went to Paris on 
April 27, 1915, for the first time since the outbreak of war, 
I did not know that a Treaty had been concluded, nor had I 
any inkling of its scope. But Supilo, who had reached Petro- 
grad towards the end of March, had gradually extracted much 
of the truth from the Russian Foreign Minister, Sazonof. He 
telegraphed warnings to M. Pashitch, the Serbian Prime Min- 
ister, on March 26th, and again on March 28th and 30th. On 
March 29th he sent a long telegram to Sir Edward Grey ; and, 
on April 3rd, wrote to the French Foreign Minister, M. Del- 



THE ISSUES 


65 


casse. On April 3rd also he telegraphed to Dr. Trumbitch, 
who had escaped from Austria and was then in Rome, that 
Istria and the greater half of Dalmatia were completely lost; 
and on April 7th he confirmed this statement. Therefore he 
urged Trumbitch not to go to Serbia to consult Pashitch since 
Pashitch was already informed, but rather to go with all speed 
to Paris and especially to London in order to appeal to public 
opinion and to the French and British governments. Trum- 
bitch nevertheless went to Serbia, was nearly captured by an 
Austrian destroyer on his return journey across the Adriatic, 
and only reached London on May 10th, more than a fort- 
night after the Treaty had been signed. 

It is improbable that any amount of representation to French 
and British statesmen would then have prevented them from 
concluding the Treaty. Technically, the Southern Slav 
regions which they proposed to hand over to Italy were enemy 
territory, and neither Sir Edward Grey nor M. Delcasse knew 
enough of the Southern Slav question to understand the folly 
of giving way to Italian demands. Even at Petrograd, where 
Supilo’s representations might have been expected to find 
readier acceptance, the Russian Foreign Office showed solici- 
tude only for what it believed to be the Orthodox Serb popu- 
lation of the Adriatic; and, in the belief that some districts 
were inhabited by Serbs rather than by Roman Catholic Croats, 
it insisted that they should not be assigned to Italy. In 
reality, the districts it saved were inhabited mainly by Croats 1 
But, on reaching Paris, I found that not only was Supilo’s 
information true but that the conclusion of the Treaty was 
known to the Serbian Legation and to a number of Southern 
Slav refugees. One of them, Dr. Hinkovitch, who had been 
the chief counsel for the defence at the Agram High Treason 
Trial of 1909, was able to give me, in broad outline, the con- 
tents of the Treaty. He added also that, under the Treaty, 
Italy was bound to declare war within a month. 

DELCASSE 

As soon as I had heard this news, I asked M. Delcass6 
the French Foreign Minister, for an appointment. He re- 



66 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

ceived me at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 1st. Telling him what 
I had heard, I protested against the folly which the Allied 
Governments had committed. I predicted — and the predic- 
tion was speedily confirmed — that as soon as the nature of 
the Treaty were known in Austria-Hungary, as it inevitably 
would be in a short time, the anti-Hapsburg movement among 
the Austro-Hungarian Southern Slavs would cease, and the 
Hapsburgs would be able plausibly to represent themselves as 
fighting for the preservation of Southern Slav territory against 
Italian rapacity. I pointed out to him that, should the Allied 
armies be unable completely to defeat Germany and Austria- 
Hungary, it might be impossible to gainsay a German demand 
for the annexation of Belgium as a strategic necessity, since 
the Allies had consented to the carving up of Southern Slav 
and of Austrian-German territory in order to satisfy the al- 
leged strategic necessities of Italy. France, England and Rus- 
sia had, I urged, rendered the task of Italy herself needlessly 
difficult and dangerous by providing the Southern Slav regi- 
ments of Austria-Hungary with a strong incentive to fight 
desperately against Italy in defence of their own soil — and 
the Italians knew by experience what stout fighters the Austro- 
Hungarian Serbs and Croats could be. In conclusion, I told 
M. Delcasse that I and my friends would leave no stone un- 
turned to undo the mischief which the Treaty could not fail 
to do, because there could be no true victory for the Allies and 
no lasting peace unless it were undone. 

To my surprise, M. Delcasse heard me patiently. He did 
not deny the accuracy of my information nor did he attempt 
to controvert my arguments. After a pause he said: 

“ We may have done wrong, but we were placed in a terribly 
hard position. Italy put a pistol to our heads. Think what 
it means. Within a month there will be a million Italian bay- 
onets in the field, and shortly afterwards 600,000 Rumanians. 
Reinforcements as large as that may be worth some sacrifice, 
even of principle. But I ask you, was there ever a moment 
in the history of the world when decisions were so difficult, or 
the responsibility of statesmen so heavy? ” 



THE ISSUES 


67 


The prospective entry of Rumania into the war was new 
to me, and I asked M. DelcassS whether he were sure of it. 

“ Yes,” he said, 11 Italy will make war before the end of 
this month, and Rumania in June. That,” he added, “ should 
hasten an Allied victory.” 

What grounds M. Delcasse had for believing that Rumania 
would make war in June, 1915, I never learned. She did not, 
in fact, make war until August, 1916. But I was constrained 
to admit that the temptation to Allied statesmen had been 
severe, and that they would have needed to know far more 
than they knew in order to withstand Italian pressure. 

On returning to London I verified, as far as possible, the in- 
formation I had obtained in Paris, and wrote, on May 7, a 
letter to the Rome correspondent of The Times informing him 
of the principle features of the Treaty and adding: 

In Paris, where the main lines of the Convention [as the Treaty 
was then called] are pretty generally known, I found great uneasi- 
ness as to the responsibilities which it involves. Barrere [the French 
Ambassador in Rome], Delcasse, and Cambon seem to have pressed 
hard for the conclusion of some arrangement that would bring in 
the Italians — and presumably also the Rumanians — on our side. 
But the feeling that we have allowed Italy to coerce us into abandon- 
ing the principle of Nationality in favour of the strategic principle 
which Germany invokes in justification of her misdeeds, neutralizes 
the satisfaction that would otherwise be felt at the prospect of 
Italian intervention. There appears to have been some demand 
on the part of Italy for the assistance of French troops in order 
to stiffen the Italian Army; but Joffre, whom I saw on Tuesday 
[May 4], absolutely refuses to detach a single man from his front 
for the purpose. 

The existence of the Convention is less generally known in 
England than in France; but, in quarters where it is known, mis- 
givings are very pronounced. The Serbian cause has become very 
popular here; and when it is realized that a part of Serbo-Croatian 
territory has been sacrificed, not only without the consent of Serbia 
but without any consultation with Serbia; and when the intensity 
of Serbian military and political feeling on the subject is known, 
there may be a dangerous reaction unless the Italians act quickly 
and are everywhere victorious. Things at Nish [then the seat of 
the Serbian Government] are so bad that the heads of the army 
are talking of concluding a tacit or explicit armistice with Austria 
in order to set free Austrian troops to resist the Italian invasion 



68 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

of Southern Slav territory. Pashitch is doing his best to stem the 
tide; but the latest information received at the French Foreign 
Office was to the effect that Pashitch might not be able to weather 
the storm. . . . 

Therefore, if Italy is wise she will refrain from occupying the 
Slav territories allotted to her under the Convention, and will seek 
to base an agreement with Serbia and the Southern Slav leaders 
upon an undertaking that the Dalmatian coasts and harbours to 
which she aspires shall be neutralized. If this is done, and the 
actual leanings of the population ascertained by means of plebiscites, 
there may still be a chance of a comparatively cordial understanding. 
Otherwise I see nothing but trouble ahead. 

As the relations between The Times and the British Foreign 
Office were still interrupted, I had no means of sending this 
letter to Rome save through the ordinary post. It was prob- 
able that the censor would stop it but, in that case, the Gov- 
ernment would know that we knew what had been done. 
Should it escape the British censor and reach Italy, the Italian 
censor might open it — and the Italian Government would 
know that the secrecy on which it had counted was already at 
an end. Therefore I posted the letter and awaited results. 
Within forty-eight hours an important official telephoned me 
from the Foreign Office to enquire whether I could call upon 
him. I asked whether he were speaking on behalf of Sir Ed- 
ward Grey and added that if the Foreign Secretary no longer 
insisted that The Times should disavow its justified criticism 
upon a public document submitted by the Government to 
Parliament (the White Paper on the outbreak of war with 
Turkey) , I should be willing to call, but otherwise not. 

“ You can safely call,” was the reply. 

When I called, the official took some exception to a leading 
article which had appeared in The Times that morning upon 
the attitude of the United States, but I warned him that I did 
not recognize the right of a Foreign Office official to discuss 
with me the leading articles of The Times. The official then 
expressed regret at the “misunderstanding” which had caused 
the severance of relations between The Times and the Foreign 
Office and produced from his pocket my letter to the corre- 
spondent of The Times at Rome, 



THE ISSUES 


“ You sent this through the post,” he said. 

“ Yes, how else was I to send it? ” 

“ Well,” he continued, “ if you will change it slightly we 
will forward it for you ourselves. Where you got your in- 
formation I cannot guess ; but it is so accurate and the advice 
you give is so salutary that, with a verbal alteration or two, 
it will be wholesome for the Italians to know what is thought 
in this country.” 

I agreed to change some words which were immaterial to 
the sense of the letter and it was forwarded in the Foreign 
Office bag. At the same time the normal relations of inde- 
pendent consultation and exchange of information between The 
Times and the Foreign Office were resumed. 


“ PERFIDIOUS ALBION ” 

In a sense, my early knowledge of the Treaty of London 
was an accident, for I had gone to Paris for quite another 
purpose. A French Protestant organization, called “Foi et 
Vie,” had arranged a series of lectures by French and Allied 
speakers in the hope of acquainting the Parisian public with 
the efforts and the standpoints of the various Allied countries. 
The series had been opened by the French philosophers, MM. 
Boutroux and Bergson; M. Vandervelde, the eminent Belgian 
orator, had spoken for Belgium; Signor Guglielmo Ferrero, the 
Italian historian, had spoken for Italy, and I had been asked 
to speak for England. The task was not easy. French public 
opinion had become restive and was inclined to be critical 
both of the protraction of the war and of the apparently insig- 
nificant military contribution made to it by England. Of 
“propaganda,” such as all belligerent countries afterwards or- 
ganized, there was then none. The very solidity of the Brit- 
ish military hospitals and other buildings in the north of 
France had made many Frenchmen suspect that, once estab- 
lished on French soil, England would fix herself there and that, 
after the war, she would retain possession at least of Calais. 
This fear gave much amusement to Englishmen and was the 
subject of an anecdote in which the British Ambassador, Sir 



70 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Francis (afterwards Lord) Bertie, figured to advantage. M. 
Hanotaux, the former French Minister for Foreign Affairs, an 
inveterate Anglophobe who had no relations with the British 
Embassy, had been invited by a Parisian hostess to meet Sir 
Francis Bertie and, by way of opening the conversation tact- 
fully, had said, ts Many people think, M. l’Ambassadeur, that 
the British establishments in the north look remarkably perma- 
nent.^ 

“ They are quite right,” answered Sir Francis Bertie 
promptly. “ When we were last there we stayed the devil of a 
time.” 

I had to take this state of mind into account and to reckon 
with the almost unconscious French tendency to attribute 
11 perfidy n to England. But I knew that no amount of ex- 
postulation or asseveration would make any impression upon 
a Parisian audience which, above all things, loves logical clear- 
ness. Therefore I set out to give a more or less logical ex- 
planation of that thoroughly illogical phenomenon, the Eng- 
lish character; and lest my audience, which consisted of some 
two thousand persons drawn from all classes of French so- 
ciety — workmen, bankers, diplomatists, students, politicians, 
and elegant ladies — should imagine that I was seeking either 
to extol my own country or to depreciate it in order to gain 
their favour, I said: 

During my long residence abroad, in Germany, France, Italy and 
Austria-Hungary, I got into the way of looking at England with 
the objectivity that distance facilitates, even though that very dis- 
tance strengthen love of one's own country. This habit remains 
with me. I still feel the need to “understand” England while 
recognizing that few things are harder. 

The English are, above all, creatures of instinct. They distrust 
ideas. They have a horror of logic. Show them by irrefutable 
reasoning that they ought to do this or that, and they will revolt. 
An instinct deeper than reason tells them that life itself is not 
logical, that it is compounded of an energy that is often blind, an 
energy of which the mainspring lies below what psychologists call 
“the threshold of consciousness.” At ordinary times, a clear view 
of national needs is very rare in England; but, on the other hand, 
a practical sense of individual needs and a restlessness, that some- 



THE ISSUES 71 

times becomes a spirit of adventure, are common to most English- 
men. 

I foresee the objection that, nevertheless, the English do not lack 
ideas nor does England lack idealists. She has given birth to some 
of the greatest thinkers. Besides, England has had, in the recent 
past, her “intellectuals,” pacifists and doctrinaires. They have 
disputed frequently and noisily about political, religious and social 
questions. But if England is watched closely, there is often seen 
to be a flagrant contradiction between the ideas that are expressed 
and the behaviour of those who express them. They live in 
the purest inconsistency — without knowing it. 

Here we touch the root of the problem and reach the source of 
what is called English hypocrisy or perfidy. The first time an 
Englishman hears his country accused of perfidy or hypocrisy his 
astonishment is equalled only by his conviction that those who 
accuse her are either ignorant or insincere. What is the truth? 
My own conclusion is that the great majority of my fellow country- 
men are never, or very seldom, perfidious or hypocritical, but are 
almost always inconsistent. Now inconsistency is not hypocrisy 
unless people are conscious of their inconsistency. But between 
the two sections of the English mind, the section that holds views 
or ideas and the section from which fundamental impulses proceed* 
there is a kind of watertight bulkhead. What an Englishman may 
say at moments of normal quiet gives no clue to what he will do 
at a moment of individual or national crisis. Then it is that he 
shows himself, that his real temperament comes out, that he talks 
little and does things. Just now he is doing things.” 

Upon the basis of this rough definition, which I still think 
broadly true, I built an account of England before the war; 
an explanation of the tardiness of the British Government to 
declare itself, even after war had begun between Austria- 
Hungary and Serbia, Germany and Russia, and Germany and 
France; assured my audience that, once in the war, England 
would go through with it no matter at what cost, and con- 
cluded with a precise reference to the Treaty of London which 
all the diplomatists and many of the politicians among my au- 
dience understood: — 

In their heart of hearts the English know but one fear, a fear 
that is almost a prayer. They fear that, during this great fight, 
the wisdom of their political chiefs may not rise to the level of the 
Allied peoples' resolve; and their prayer is that the faith in the 
principles of human liberty, of justice towards little countries, and 



72 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


of morality among nations, which inspired the Allies at the be- 
ginning of the war, may guide and sustain them until the work 
of European regeneration has been entirely done. The British 
people, like the people of France, knows that its chief strength 
lies in the justice of its cause, in the principle of freedom for small 
nations which its Government has proclaimed aloud. I believe 
firmly that it will not tolerate the abandonment of this principle 
or the substitution for it of the strategic principle in whose name 
Germany is committing all her abominations. If its present Govern- 
ment should forsake this truth, the English people will transfer its 
confidence to men of mind lofty enough to comprehend that the 
old world in which we lived before the war belongs to history and 
that we are struggling for a right of entry into another world, 
healthier, nobler, and of purer air. 

Three weeks after this statement — which seemed little short 
of impious to some members of the French Government — Mr. 
Asquith was obliged to reconstruct the British Cabinet on a 
broader basis and to make of it a national government by in- 
cluding leading members of the Opposition. For some time 
it had been clear that the Government was not equal to the 
task of pushing forward the war with the necessary vision and 
energy. Most of its members had not yet lost the peace habit 
of mind; and there was still little coordination between the 
various Departments of State which, before the war, had been 
so many petty autocracies. To the exhortations of the 
press, the Government had turned a deaf ear. Even Lord 
Kitchener and the Ordnance Authorities of the army would 
not allow themselves to be convinced that high explosives and 
an unlimited supply of guns and shells were indispensable to 
military success. Great expectations had been based upon 
the Allied spring offensive; and General Joffre, whom I had 
seen at Chantilly, then French Headquarters, on May 4th, 
had explained to me confidently the tactics he meant to em- 
ploy. On a piece of paper he drew a sketch of the German 
lines and wire entanglements, showed how French artillery 
would be concentrated upon a narrow front until everything 
had been smashed, how infantry would then pour through the 
gap and take in the flank the German forces holding the 
trenches on either side, and thus widen the breach through 



THE ISSUES 


73 


which a much broader offensive could be launched. Why 
these tactics failed to effect a “ break through ” of the German 
line, the military history of the war records. They were re- 
vised in the autumn but still yielded little positive result, 
greatly to the disappointment of France. In England, the 
employment of gas by the Germans at the beginning of May, 
the heavy fighting in the second battle of Ypres, the legend- 
ary gallantry of the Canadians, and, especially, the paralysis 
of the British attack at Festubert by lack of shells, brought 
on a crisis in public feeling that compelled the Government 
to choose between resignation and reconstruction. The turn- 
ing point was the publication in The Times on May 14th of a 
telegram from Colonel Repington, its military correspondent, 
who had seen the attack at Festubert, stating that “ the want 
of an unlimited supply of high explosives was a fatal bar to 
our success at Festubert.” As a result of these revelations, 
the Government was reconstructed with the help of Mr. Bal- 
four, Lord Curzon, Mr. Bonar Law and other Conservatives, 
Mr. Lloyd George relinquishing the Chancellorship of the 
Exchequer in order to establish a special Ministry of Mu- 
nitions. The situation was complicated by the personal action 
of Lord Northcliffe, who wrote and published in the Daily 
Mail of May 22nd a violent attack upon Lord Kitchener. 
Upon the expediency of this attack and the effect of it opin- 
ions still differ. At the time, it aroused intense indignation. 
I knew nothing of it until it was published; though, on the 
night when the Daily Mail printed it, I found Lord North- 
cliffe sitting in the editor's room at The Times office with an 
expression more grim than I had ever seen on his face or ever 
saw again. In after years he often referred to his article and 
maintained that it had been necessary. “ I did not care 
whether the circulation of The Times dropped to one copy and 
that of the Daily Mail to two,” he would say. “I consulted no 
one about it except my mother, and she agreed with it. I felt 
that the war was becoming too big for Kitchener, and that 
public belief in him, which was indispensable at the outset, 
was becoming an obstacle to military progress. Therefore I 
did my best to shake things up.” 



74 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


“ REVENGE ” 

He undoubtedly “ shook things up n in a way perplexing to 
those who imagined him to be a mere popularity-hunter; and 
he incurred in the process a dislike that, in many instances, 
amounted to positive hatred. But he cared little, though he 
was well aware that the Government would take revenge upon 
him at the first opportunity. The opportunity soon came, and 
I was indirectly responsible for providing it. In France I 
had been struck by the intensity of the national effort and 
by the mobilization of every available man. On returning to 
England, the sight of hundreds of lusty youths loafing about, 
apparently careless of the war, filled me with shame and anger. 
Therefore, when I found, among the letters sent for publication 
to the editor of The Times, a letter from a Major Richardson 
protesting against this very thing, I advised the editor to print 
it. It was published on May 21, 1915, under the heading 
“The Need for Compulsion.” and ran: 

I have recently returned from France, where I have been with 
the French. 

The last of the French reserves are out, and at the present 
moment young raw recruits are being called up. 

The natural consequence of this is that the French are looking 
to us to supply the enormous number of men still needed to carry 
the war to anything like a satisfactory conclusion, and that, failing 
these supplies arriving, there is a distinct danger of public sentiment 
in France, by the time winter comes, wearying of the war. It is 
a painful thing to witness reinforcements of young lads in their 
teens going up to the firing line, as I saw myself last week. 

On my way home I saw the mangled mass of humanity after 
Ypres, and subsequently, when immediately across the channel, 
I came across scores of lusty, able-bodied young men walking about 
in smug complacency, utterly callous and indifferent to the anguish 
of their brothers, so long as they got their war bonus. 

A few days earlier the French military authorities had 
made some complaint to the British Government on the score 
of the laxity of British censors in allowing the publication 
in the British press of information likely to be useful to the 
enemy; and the French Embassy had been requested by the 



THE ISSUES 


75 


British War Office to point out any cases in point which might 
occur in future. Consequently, a large number of newspaper 
cuttings were forwarded by an official of the French Embassy 
to the War Office, among them being Major Richardson's 
letter. Imagining that they had a good case against The Times, 
the British Government resolved to prosecute it by summary 
procedure under the Defence of the Realm Regulations for 
“ publishing information which might be directly useful to the 
enemy." The plea was that The Times and Major Richardson 
had given such information to Germany by stating that “ the 
last of the French reserves are out, and at the present moment 
young raw recruits are being called up." The British Govern- 
ment, which watched the German press closely, was doubt- 
less aware that statements even stronger than this had ap- 
peared early in April in the Frankfurter Zeitung and in the 
Kolnische Zeitung , and had also been made in public debates 
in the French Chamber. But, in its anxiety to strike a blow 
at The Times , and indirectly at Lord Northcliffe, it seems to 
have forgotten that we also read the German and the French 
papers very carefully. To make sure of catching us unawares, 
the summons against The Times was served late on the evening 
of Saturday May 29th, at an hour when, as the Government 
was entitled to expect, The Times office would be empty ; and 
as the case was to be heard by summary jurisdiction early on 
the morning of Monday, May 31st, at the Mansion House, it 
was supposed that we should have no time to prepare a de- 
fence. As luck would have it, the former Berlin correspondent 
of The Times , the late Mr. J. E. Mackenzie — who, through- 
out the war, produced an admirable daily review of the Ger- 
man press called “ Through German Eyes " — happened to be 
working in the office when the summons was served. Grasping 
its importance and the intention behind it, he took action at 
once, with the result that enough proof of the previous publica- 
tion, in France and in Germany, of statements similar to that 
incriminated, could be put forward to justify the Mansion 
House Tribunal in granting an adjournment of the case for 
some days. The Times was able also to secure the services of 
an eminent counsel, Mr. Gordon Hewart (now Lord Hewart, 



76 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


Lord Chief Justice of England) , who more than held his own 
against the Public Prosecutor. He could not, however, refute 
the Government's contentions that the prosecution had been 
undertaken at the instance of the French Military attach^ 
on behalf of the French Embassy and Government, and that 
the case was being tried in a court of summary jurisdiction 
by direction of the “ competent military authority." By these 
arguments, the Public Prosecutor sought to throw both the au- 
thority of an Allied Government and that of the British Army 
into the scales of justice against us. 

Before the resumption of the trial I asked M. Paul Cambon, 
the French Ambassador, why he had authorized the prosecu- 
tion without first making representations to us. I told him 
that, as a result of inquiries which I had caused to be made 
in Paris, I knew that the French Government had never 
known of, or desired, or authorized the prosecution. M. Cam- 
bon assured me that he had never known of or authorized it, 
that he regretted it, and that he had informed the British 
Foreign Office to this effect. He hoped therefore that the 
prosecution would be withdrawn. For several days he ne- 
gotiated with the Government for its withdrawal, dealing 
especially with Lord Lansdowne who had recently joined the 
Government as Minister without Portfolio. His efforts were 
fruitless. The Government thought it had found a sturdy 
cudgel wherewith to beat The Times and Lord Northcliffe, and 
refused to let it go. All it would do, on the eve of the resump- 
tion of the trial, was to promise M. Cambon that, after sen- 
tence had been given, the Public Prosecutor should state that 
the proceedings had not been taken at the request of the 
French Government or of the French Embassy. 

In the meantime, we had collected from the German press 
and from French parliamentary debates an overwhelming 
case against the Government. All and much more than the 
statements made in Major Richardson’s letter had been printed 
in Germany and in France weeks before he wrote it. Conse- 
quently, there could be no question of our having given infor- 
mation to the enemy. This I told M. Cambon on the night 
before the resumption and warned him also that, in my evi- 



THE ISSUES 


77 


dence, I should state authoritatively that the French Govern- 
ment had neither known nor approved of the prosecution. 
When he informed me of the statement which the Public 
Prosecutor wris to make after sentence had been given, I 
pointed out to him that, if The Times were acquitted, the effect 
of the statement would be to make the French Embassy appear 
eager to wriggle out of its share of the discredit; and that, 
if The Times were condemned, the French Embassy would look 
as though it wished to escape from the odium of having pro- 
cured the condemnation. Then M. Cambon said, “ I author- 
ize you to state that the French Government neither desired, 
knew, nor approved of this prosecution; and you may add that, 
had I known of it or been consulted about it, I should have 
protested against it. I know that the only object of The Times 
was to help in winning tha war.” 

Mr. Gordon Hewart used with consummate ability the 
leverage which this authorization gave him. Instead of calling 
me as a witness, he recalled the chief witness for the prosecu- 
tion (a Colonel on the War Office staff) and extracted from 
him the admission that nothing could be more utterly wrong 
than the “ impression,” which this witness had previously 
given, that the proceedings against The Times were instigated 
by the French Government or the French Embassy. He com- 
pelled him also to admit that the “ information ” contained 
in Major Richardson’s letter could be of no use to the enemy 
if, as could be proved, the enemy had long possessed it. Seeing 
that his case was smashed, the Crown Counsel sought to 
extricate himself from his predicament, but was not allowed by 
the Court to speak until Mr. Gordon Hewart had soundly 
trounced the official instigators of the prosecution. The magis- 
trate then dismissed the case as baseless — and the Govern- 
ment got a much-needed lesson. 

Of the animus which prompted the action of ministers in 
this instance, many examples were to be given during the war. 
Under the Defence of the Realm Regulations — subsequently 
the Defence of the Realm Act, or DORA, for short — members 
of the Government and permanent officials alike tended to be- 
come autocratic. Parliament grew ineffective and the press 



78 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

alone acted as the guardian of such public liberties as re- 
mained. Handicapped though it was by restrictions of many 
kinds, it did its part in the winning of the war and in fortifying 
the spirit of the nation; and it compelled the Government, 
again and again, to tell the country the truth. Throughout 
the war, the temper of the people was far sturdier than that 
of the majority of ministers, most of whom strangely under- 
estimated the national capacity for discipline and self-sacri- 
fice. The “ Derby System,” conscription, rationing, crushing 
taxation, air raids, the threat of starvation by German sub- 
marines, the progressive loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, 
were accepted with a dogged calm worthy of the best British 
traditions; and if credit for the part that England played in 
the war is to be given to whom it is due, it must be given not 
to any one statesman or commander but to the common soldier 
in the field and to the people at home. 



CHAPTER XIII 


THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 
1915-1916 

I N the winter of 1915-16, the Allied peoples first began to 
realize the quality and the size of their task. Though 
Italy had joined them in May, 1915, after a severe political 
crisis at Rome, the Italian offensive against Austria had not 
brought the expected relief. Moreover, the Italian Government 
made war in a spirit of “sacro egoismo ,” or “hallowed selfish- 
ness,” as its head, Signor Salandra, defined it, and the Italian 
press long continued to call the operations against Austria- 
Hungary “ our war,” as distinguished from the “ war of the 
Allies.” In October, 1915, Bulgaria joined the enemy, while a 
strong Austro-German offensive overwhelmed Serbia whom the 
Allies were powerless to help. Of the Serbian retreat with its 
heroic episodes this is not the place to speak; nor does the 
fighting against the Turks in the Dardanelles, on the Gallipoli 
peninsula and in Mesopotamia, come within the scope of my 
narrative. The Allies had few successes to set off against the 
victories of the enemy ; and the conviction gradually grew that, 
if defeat were to be avoided, far greater efforts would have 
to be made. In England, the movement for compulsory mili- 
tary service brought on a compromise in the form of Lord 
Derby's recruiting scheme; while criticism of General Sir 
John French led, in December, 1915, to his retirement from 
the command of the British Expeditionary Force in France 
and to the appointment of General Sir Douglas Haig to suc- 
ceed him, General Sir William Robertson becoming Chief of 
the Imperial General Staff. In France, where the Viviani 
Cabinet had been replaced by a new administration under M. 
Briand, General Joffre was definitely appointed Commander- 
in-Chief with General de Castelnau as his Chief of Staff. The 

79 



80 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


divergence of opinion upon the relative importance of the 
Western and the Balkan fronts, which afterwards became 
acute, was already noticeable in British and French military 
circles; and pedantic fidelity to the doctrines of Clausewitz, 
which had misled von Kluck, was beginning to circumscribe the 
views of the British General Staff. The typescript is for 
purposes of comparison. The Cabinet, the Foreign Office, 
the War Office, leading politicians and even journalists were 
pelted with memoranda and counter-memoranda (some of 
which came from Staff officers at the front) for and against 
the retention of Salonika as an Allied base in the Balkans, 
for and against the evacuation of Gallipoli, and on the poli- 
tical and military situation in general. Upon one of these 
memoranda, which urged the immediate evacuation of Sa- 
lonika, an important member of the Cabinet, Mr. Bonar Law, 
consulted me; and in a letter to him, dater December 2, 1915, 
I wrote: 

Evacuation o. Salonika would make a present to Austria and 
Germany of the best naval and submarine base on the .Egean coast. 
There is no prespect whatever that the enemy would refrain from 
using this advantage to the full. Our communications with the 
Gallipoli peninsula and Egypt, and our freedom of maritime action, 
should we hereafter find it necessary to bring pressure to bear upon 
Greece, would be seriously endangered. 

. . . The enemy desire nothing so much as to see us depart from 
Salonika, since the presence of an Allied force there, or in the 
neighbourhood, would compel the Germans, Austrians, and Bul- 
garians to maintain a considerable force on a war footing throughout 
the winter, in order to watch and menace us. By our departure 
the enemy would be relieved of a dangerous and disquieting element 
of uncertainty in the Balkan situation; the Greeks, Rumanians, and 
Albanians would be convinced that we had thrown up the sponge, 
the chances of disagreement between the Bulgarians and the Turks 
would be lessened, and the organization of the Balkans in a pro- 
German sense would proceed apace without serious hindrance. 

It is manifestly to our interest to write as large a note of in- 
terrogation as possible over the whole Balkan situation during the 
winter. The strain upon Bulgaria and Turkey will thus be pro- 
longed and friction between them promoted; the Greeks and the 
Rumanians will not venture to abandon their neutrality in a sense 
unfavourable to us; and the Albanians will think twice before 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 81 

undertaking serious operations against the remnant of the Serbian 
Army. 

In the end it was decided to hold Salonika ; but, before the 
controversy could be settled, Allied plans received a rude 
shock, in the last week of February, 1916, from a determined 
German attack upon Verdun. For months this attack and the 
tenacious French defence absorbed the attention of the Allied 
peoples, who watched with breathless anxiety the vicissitudes 
of the struggle. 


VERDUN 

Good fortune enabled me to see something of its earlier 
stages. On February 23rd, Lord Northcliffe asked me to go 
with him on a visit to the French front in Champagne. He 
had already seen the British front in Flanders but was anx- 
ious to judge for himself how far the organization of the 
French and the work of their artillery were superior to our 
own. It was arranged that we should leave Southampton on 
Saturday, February 26th, and report ourselves at French head- 
quarters on March 1st. But, on the afternoon of February 
26th, a German bulletin announced that the Fort of Douau- 
mont, described as the key to Verdun, had been captured by 
a Brandenburg regiment. The fall of Verdun seemed immi- 
nent. In the train on the way to Southampton I made the 
acquaintance of a French officer wearing colonial uniform, 
Captain Philippe Millet, formerly colonial editor of the Paris 
Temps, and of another French writer, M. Robert de Caix, 
afterwards French High Commissioner in Syria. At South- 
ampton, Lord Northcliffe decided that it would be useless to 
go to the Champagne front while the fortunes of the war were 
perhaps being decided elsewhere, and that we must get leave 
to go at once to Verdun and report as eyewitnesses upon the 
truth or falsity of the German claim. Though the French 
Government forbade the publication of the German military 
bulletins in France, they were, of course, sent by German wire- 
less throughout the world and were regularly published in the 
British press. Therefore it was important that so alarming 



82 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


a bulletin as that which announced the fall of Fort Douaumont 
should be answered at once. 

But an exasperating hitch occurred. German submarines 
had appeared in the Channel, and the boat which was to have 
taken us from Southampton to Havre could not start that 
night. It was crowded to suffocation, some four hundred pas- 
sengers having been allowed on board a steamer with accom- 
modation for barely two hundred. Next morning we found 
ourselves still moored to the Southampton wharf. Throughout 
Sunday, February 27th, it snowed heavily. No one was 
allowed to go on shore because we might start at any moment. 
Meanwhile, food threatened to run short. Monday morning 
found us in the same plight, except that food and drink had 
run short. Finally, at 6 p.m. that evening, we heard that a 
cockleshell of a steamer employed in the vegetable trade 
between Southampton, Cherbourg, and the Channel Islands, 
was to be allowed to cross the Channel because its shallow 
draught was thought to render it immune from torpedo attack. 
Using all the influence we could command, Northcliffe, Millet, 
de Caix and I, with the valiant wife of a British officer who 
was due to meet her husband at Malta, obtained permission to 
tranship and to land at Cherbourg instead of Havre. We 
started in a gale. 

I had never travelled with Northcliffe before, and his cheer- 
fulness and patience under discomfort won my admiration 
and that of our companions. On th$ cockleshell there were 
but three berths left when the only cabin had been given to 
the lady. He insisted on tossing for them, and, having 
lost the toss, curled himself up in a mackintosh on a seat. 
We reached Cherbourg next morning after a tumbly crossing, 
and were in Paris towards midnight, our journey being de- 
layed by a railway accident. Northcliffe’s insistence that we 
should go to Verdun was not quite to the taste of the French 
military authorities; but the Prime Minister, M. Briand, 
quickly saw the advantage of having the position described in 
a despatch, signed by Northcliffe, which would be offered to the 
whole British press and to all the American newspapers served 
by the Associated Press and the United Press agencies. Under 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 


83 


advice from the Government, French General Headquarters 
assented, and we started from Paris at 5 p.m., on Thursday, 
March 2nd, in a powerful Staff car. My old friend and col- 
league, Lieutenant Maurice Pernot, sometime correspondent 
of the Journal des Debats in Vienna and Rome, accompanied 
us as representative of the French Headquarters Staff. In 
a blinding snowstorm we made our way to Sezanne, where we 
slept, and started thence at 6 a.m. on the 3rd with orders to 
report ourselves at Souilly, General Petain's Headquarters 
near Verdun, at 9 a.m. On the way we learned from Pernot 
something of the story of the German attack. It had taken 
the local Commander by surprise ; and though his first reports 
to General Headquarters, on the evening of February 21st, 
were not alarming, the Chief of Staff, General de Castelnau, 
determined to see matters for himself and ordered his car for 
8 o'clock next morning. But, on turning in, he felt more 
uneasy than the reports seemed to warrant. Therefore he rose 
again, ordered his car at once, and went at breakneck speed 
to Verdun, which he reached at daylight — and in the nick 
of time. Assuming temporary command, he displaced the local 
Commander and summoned General Petain from a neighbour- 
ing army corps. Petain took over the defence with orders to 
hold on at all costs. Since then the battle had raged furiously, 
the Germans attacking with utter disregard of life and seeking 
to smother the defenders under a bombardment of which the 
like had not been seen in the war. What the position would 
be when we reached Souilly — for Verdun was being heavily 
shelled and could no longer serve as local headquarters — no 
man could say. We were naturally eager to get there with all 
speed, and our good car was bearing us thither at forty-five 
miles an hour. 


A CHECK 

But, as we were running through the town of Vitry-le- 
Frangois towards 7:30 a.m. we heard a sharp click and the 
car slowed down. The gear of its second speed had snapped, 
and the car was useless. Pernot telephoned at once to Bar-le- 
Duc for another car and was assured that it w r ould be sent 



84 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

immediately. Meanwhile, we breakfasted, expecting the new 
car to turn up by 9 a.m. Hour after hour passed without a 
sign of it. On enquiring anew at Bar-le-Duc we were told it 
had started. Finally, at 3 p.m. we saw a small new car, 
driven by an obviously tipsy soldier, wobbling along the streets 
of Vitry. We hailed it and found that it was the car from 
Bar-le-Duc. The driver had arrived at 11 o’clock but had 
thought fit to drink heavily before reporting for further 
service. He was promptly deposed and the driver of the 
broken-down Staff car installed in his place. Then we started 
again for Souilly. 

About forty miles on we were stopped by a patrol. Strict 
orders had been issued from Souilly that no civilians were to 
be allowed on any road to Verdun. We showed our permits 
and Pernot protested, but in vain. There was nothing for it 
but to trudge through the snow to the nearest military tele- 
phone post and get the order suspended in our favour. By 
this time it was past 6 o’clock and very dark. We made what 
speed we could and finally reached Souilly in sleet and rain 
at 8 p.m. — 11 hours late. On reporting ourselves, we found 
Petain’s Staff officers up to their eyes in work and obviously 
annoyed at our unpunctuality. Worse still, there was no 
chance of getting a bed at Souilly. The place was crammed 
with soldiers. We were ordered back to Bar-le-Duc, some 
thirty miles away, and were told to report ourselves again at 
eight next morning. 

By this time we were hungry. We were, besides, damp and 
cold. There was no question of finding food in the terriblq 
salad of mud, soldiers, artillery, lorries and ambulances at 
Souilly. Therefore we set out for Bar-le-Duc, only to be 
stopped by an interminable file of motor lorries bringing sup- 
plies, men and munitions to the front. For more than an hour 
we waited by the roadside while hundreds after hundreds of 
these great vehicles trundled past with the regularity of well- 
managed freight trains. Then, at 10 p.m. we resumed our 
journey. Presently our car “ drave heavily.” On the sticky 
roads the motor had heated and refused further service. We 
had to wait for it to cool, digging snow out of the ditches with 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 


85 


our hands to hasten the process. Once more we started, only 
to be brought again to a dead stop, a few miles further on, 
in a village. Requisitioning a pail from a sleepy peasant we 
doused the motor with water from a pump and finally reached 
Bar-le-Duc towards midnight. The town was crowded with 
refugees from Verdun, no rooms were to be had in the hotels 
or even in private houses and, worse still, there was no food. 
After a fruitless search we returned to the Hotel du Commerce 
in the small hours to beg for shelter and a chair or two on 
which to pass the remainder of the night. Luckily some offi- 
cers for whom beds had been reserved had not claimed them 
and they were given to us; but as we were more hungry than 
sleepy, we asked for food of some sort. None was to be had. 
The dining room, which had sheltered 300 refugees from Ver- 
dun during the day, with windows closed and shutters down 
for fear of air raids, was filled with an atmosphere such as 
I have never tasted before or since. On the floor in a corner 
I discovered a quarter of a loaf of stale bread, whereat we all 
gave a feeble cheer. Cleaning it with our pocket knives, we 
hacked it into six small pieces, one of which each of us ate, 
while the other three we reserved for “ breakfast.” A bottle 
of Vichy water, tempered with brandy from Northcliffe’s 
flask, formed the rest of our meal, though Northcliffe excited 
the wonder of a heavy-eyed and slatternly maid by anointing 
his crust with some Worcester sauce which he detected in the 
recesses of an otherwise empty cupboard. “ And so to bed ” at 
3 A.M. 

At 6 a.m. we started back to Souilly, having devoured our 
remaining crusts with a thimbleful of stale black coffee found 
in a bottle in the kitchen. It was still snowing and the wind 
was keen. Though the driver had worked all night on the 
motor, the wretched thing finally gave up the ghost ten miles 
from our destination. Pernot was in despair and Northcliffe 
furious. As the driver was finally explaining that there was 
nothing more to be done, I saw a military lorry heading 
straight towards us in the direction of Souilly. Standing in the 
middle of the road I signalled to it to stop. It was laden with 
broken stones to mend the road beyond Souilly; and after 



86 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


hearing our story the driver consented to take us on. We 
left our car by the roadside. Northcliffe was given the seat 
of honour on the lorry beside the driver — whom he soon rec- 
ognized as an old acquaintance, the proprietor of a garage at 
Biarritz — while Pemot and I sat on petrol tins amid the 
broken stones behind. In reality, we had the best of the 
bargain for, in his more exposed position, Northcliffe caught 
a chill. Thus we reached Souilly at 9 a.m. only an hour late 
this time, but still late enough to make Petain’s staff wonder 
whether we were not demons of unpunctuality incarnate. 

GERMAN PRISONERS 

Still it snowed and sleeted. There could be no question of 
seeing any part of the battlefield until the weather improved. 
Meanwhile, a Staff officer gave me all available information, 
drew me a rough map of the positions, explained the German 
order of battle as far as it was known, and allowed me to take 
notes. News then came that a batch of German prisoners had 
been brought in from Douaumont, mostly Brandenburgers, and 
we were asked if we should like to inspect them. We trudged 
through the mud to a shanty where they were being examined 
by a French interpreter, a gentle, erudite officer who, in his 
civilian days, had been a professor of some sort of German 
at some French University or High School. I stood beside 
him as he questioned the prisoners [who were brought in one at 
a time] literally in the language of Goethe which the hulking 
Brandenburgers either did not or would not understand. One 
of them stood, moreover, in so contemptuous an attitude, with 
his hands in his trouser pockets, that I expressed surprise to 
Pemot that such behavior should be tolerated; and the inter- 
preter asked me whether I wished to question the prisoner. 
" Yes,” I said, “ but I will not speak to a German soldier who 
does not stand to attention before an officer.” The interpreter 
then said to the prisoner, in perfectly good but quite unmili- 
tary German, “ Stellen Sie sich gerade! ” (Hold yourself 
straight) — at which the Brandenburger scornfully pulled him- 
self together. This was too much for me, and I barked at him, 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 87 

with the best imitation of military Prussian that I could re- 
member from my Berlin days and from the Reuter trial at 
Strasburg, “ Hab’ Acht! Kerl! ” 

The effect was electrical. The man jumped to attention and 
saluted. Then, for a few minutes, I cursed him in Prussian as 
a German officer would have cursed him, and ordered him to 
answer promptly lest something unpleasant happen to him. 
He soon told us all he knew of the German military disposi- 
tions; as did other of his comrades at whom I barked suc- 
cessively. In an interval between the barkings, the French 
military interpreter said to Pernot in an undertone, “ Ought 
prisoners of war to be talked to in this way? It seems to me 
very brutal.” “ Don’t you understand that this is the tone 
they are accustomed to? ” I replied. “ They are homesick 
for it; they feel lonesome without it.” But presently my 
method broke down. A rather undersized prisoner was brought 
in upon whom my hectoring had no effect. He stood to atten- 
tion but seemed to resent being bullied. In a tone very differ- 
ent from that of the Brandenburgers he said he was a 
Bavarian. 

I gave him a cigar and told him to sit down. Tactics that 
worked with Prussians were unsuited to South Germans. 
Though I spoke no Bavarian, an amalgam of Upper Austrian 
and Viennese might serve. It did serve. The prisoner soon 
beamed with pleasure and told us all he knew. He also 
talked volubly about his wife and children, related their 
difficulties in trying to live on an allowance of five marks a 
day, complained of the cooking in the trenches and made him- 
self generally agreeable. Other Prussian prisoners I treated 
by the original method until one youth of seventeen, a Ber- 
liner, failed to respond to it. He had joined as a volunteer 
from the Charlottenburg Technical High School while still 
under age, and was full of independence and idealism. He 
proved amenable to courtesy, wished to argue about the 
rights and wrongs of the war, and he held his own as well 
as any officer could have done. 

Northcliffe was an amused spectator of my interviews with 
the prisoners. “ I wonder who the dickens they thought you 



88 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


were,” he said afterwards. “Anything less military than your 
appearance I cannot imagine. You look like a cross between 
a chauffeur and a bumboat woman.” Indeed, we both cut 
strange figures, with waterproofs buttoned over fur coats, 
waterproof caps, and our feet encased in snow boots. We 
were also sleepy and hungry. But sleep and hunger were 
alike forgotten when the weather cleared somewhat and we 
were able to motor out to a point commanding a view of the 
Verdun ridges and of the Woevre beyond the Meuse. In a 
valley below us French field and heavy batteries were hidden, 
and were searching, by indirect fire, the German lines beyond 
the next ridge. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of guns were 
in action. German observation must have been good; for 
again and again shells would burst, as it seemed to us, just 
above the French batteries which, though carefully con- 
cealed, betrayed their whereabouts by tongues of flame that 
pierced the misty atmosphere as they fired. We saw French 
field batteries shift their positions rapidly and take new 
cover; but within a few seconds of their first discharge, Ger- 
man shells would drop in their immediate neighbourhood. 
With the help of the maps and of the explanations of Staff 
officers we were able to gain a good idea of the situation; 
and, as we returned, leaving Verdun on the left, we felt that, 
whatever the strength of the German attack, the task of 
driving out the French would be hard and costly indeed. 

PETAIN OF VERDUN 

In the early afternoon General Petain gave us luncheon at 
Souilly. By then, we were ravenous. Except two small crusts 
of bread, we had eaten nothing for twenty-eight hours. 
In welcoming us, Petain began conversation with Northcliffe, 
who was too tired or too hungry to understand rapid French. 
Then, in a few sentences, he gave me his view of the out- 
look. “ Can you stop them, General? ” I asked indiscreetly. 
He paused a moment and answered, “ When a modern army 
has had twenty-four hours to entrench itself in good posi- 
tions, the chances of successful attack are much diminished. 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 89 

We had forty-eight hours. Besides, positions are being pre- 
pared on every ridge as far back as Bar-le-Duc. If they get 
through I shall want to know why.” 

Then the appearance of food silenced all talk. It was an 
immense dish of choucroute — a refined version of German 
Sauerkraut — with sausages. How much Petain and his offi- 
cers got of it I did not observe, but I know that Northcliffe 
and I made a great hole in the savoury mound. So voracious 
were we that the arrival of an elderly officer with a pointed 
white beard escaped me. He took his place quietly at the 
table, opposite Petain. Even had I seen him I should not 
have known that he was General Herr who had been in com- 
mand of the local defences before Petain took over. With 
unconscious tactlessness I said presently to Petain, “ But, 
General, surely this German attack must have been fore- 
seen.” Petain’s blue eye looked more than usually steely as 
he answered metallically. “Yes, it was foreseen; only the 
local command did not believe in it.” 

This thrust roused General Herr, who expostulated: 

“ But those fellows [the Germans] spin railways as spiders 
spin their webs. There had been a fog for six weeks. We 
could hear their locomotives whistling but we had nothing 
else to guide us until the attack came. How could we know 
what they were about? ” 

Petain shrugged his shoulders and the luncheon ended in 
silence. Northcliffe and I started at once for Paris in another 
Staff car that had been sent to replace the vehicle which 
had left us in the lurch. From 3 until 11 p.m. we motored 
steadily through the snow, bursting two tires on the Plain 
of Chalons, and reaching Paris more than drowsy. Then, 
with characteristic decision, Northcliffe said, “ Now, no sup- 
per, or we shall both fall asleep. We must turn out that des- 
patch.” We procured two volunteer secretaries and each 
of us dictated steadily until 2:30 a.m., the military part of 
the work being entrusted to me while Northcliffe did the 
“ atmosphere.” Then he appeared in my room with his manu- 
script, asking me to revise and incorporate it in my own 
since he felt unable to continue. The chill he had caught 



90 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

on the lorry between Bar-le-Duc and Souilly had developed 
so violently that he could scarcely speak or see. At 5 a.m. 
the despatch was ready and I took it to Lieutenant Peraot, 
who was sleeping in an adjacent room, woke him up and agreed 
that he should go with it at once to Headquarters at Chantilly, 
get the military censor to pass it and return with it by 
midday for submission to the political censor. Then I, too, 
went to bed with the intention of sleeping till midday, for 
I had to lecture that afternoon on the “Effort of England” 
to an audience of 2000 Frenchmen. But the worthy pastor 
who was the chief organizer of the Foi et Vie lectures 
had become so anxious at my absence from Paris that he 
burst into my room at 9 a.m. to make sure that I was there. 
I could have slain him, for he had effectually cut short my 
slumbers. When Pernot returned from Chantilly the political 
censor could not be found, and not until 3 p.m. could we 
discover him. Then he insisted that the conclusion of the 
despatch must be changed. We had refrained from predicting 
the issue of the struggle and the censor felt that something 
more reassuring was required. Therefore I wrote a fresh con- 
clusion in the following words which were based upon Petain's 
own statement: 

Verdun is unlikely to be taken. Nothing justifies a belief that 
the spirit and the stamina of the German forces are equal to the 
task of dislodging the French from their present formidable posi- 
tions. 

With this change, the despatch was telegraphed. There 
were some six thousand words of it. It appeared in the whole 
British and American press next morning, Monday, March 
6th, and effectively destroyed the influence of the German war 
bulletins. But when Northcliffe saw the new conclusion in 
print he was filled with dismay. “ I never prophesy,” he de- 
clared, “and this conclusion implies a prophecy.” He actually 
telegraphed a correction next day to The Times . Later in the 
year, when he republished the gist of the despatch in his 
book, “ At the War,” he adhered, however, to my improvised 
conclusion. 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 


91 


A MAGNETIC ATMOSPHERE 

Nothing surprised me more during the rush to Verdun and 
back than Northcliffe’s physical stamina. Though not an 
exceptionally strong man, he had borne exceptional strain 
and fatigue, with little sleep and less food, from the Thurs- 
day afternoon until 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, his mind being con- 
stantly on the alert and his pencil continually jotting down 
impressions in his notebook. No better companion in an ad- 
venture could be desired. But I noticed also that his mind 
worked curiously. We both saw the same things; but I saw 
them in a matter-of-fact way while he saw and recorded them, 
unconsciously I believe, in a form which the public would 
most readily understand. His impressions were received 
through a medium? which might be called the public eye in 
miniature. His mind was wholly governed by an intense 
determination to help in winning the war, and all his observa- 
tions were, in a sense, automatically censored by this resolve. 
He was remarkably, sometimes uncannily, intuitive, and very 
sensitive to atmosphere. He caught, as I caught in a minor 
degree, the exhilaration of the defenders of Verdun. The 
whole region seemed to vibrate with magnetism; and it was 
doubtless this magnetism that helped us to do what we did. 


FACING THE MUSIC 

Its effect upon me did not wear off for weeks; and, on the 
afternoon of Sunday, March 5th, it pulled me through an 
ordeal which I might not otherwise have faced with success. 
After the Northcliffe despatch had been telegraphed, I 
snatched a hasty meal and went, at 5 p.m., to give my lecture. 
The hall was packed. The whole audience was throbbing with 
excitement about Verdun. My old friend, Victor Berard, 
who presided, also showed it in his introductory remarks, and 
I felt that it would be an anti-climax or worse, to speak forth- 
with of the British war effort. Therefore I spoke of Verdun 
and was loudly cheered. But, as I approached my appointed 
subject, the temper of my hearers grew cold and almost hos- 



92 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

tile. The more I described what was being done to prepare 
the armies of the Empire to bear their full share in the strug- 
gle, the more keenly did I feel that my audience was against 
me and that they were wondering why the British armies 
were doing nothing to relieve the pressure on Verdun. There- 
fore I broke off and said: 

At the bottom of your hearts there is an unworthy suspicion. 
You are asking yourselves whether this British effort has not been 
a little slow. You are thinking that, while the other Allies mobilized 
immediately all their reserves, put millions of soldiers into the faght- 
ing line, stopped their economic life, it is only now that the British 
military effort is beginning to make itself really felt. You are 
reflecting that while England perfects her new armies, builds new 
munition factories, and introduces a limited form of compulsory 
service, her Allies are dying and being ruined. You wonder whether, 
in all this, there is not a selfish calculation on the part of perfidious 
Albion ” You suspect that she may wish to find herself, when 
peace is made, the strongest of the Allies in order to get the biggest 
part of the loot or to impose upon the enemy conditions more ad- 
vantageous to herself than to the other Allies. 

Here the whole audience rose and applauded as though to 
confess that I had read their thoughts. I saw that the bull 
must be taken by the horns, and continued, not without a 
touch of scorn: 

Since you are French, I admit that you should ask yourselves 
these questions. Had I not lived a great part of my life outside 
England I should, however, look upon such questions as so many 
insults to the honour of my country and should turn my back 
upon you and go away. But as I know the difficulty felt by for- 
eigners in understanding English psychology; as I know that, for 
Frenchmen, a logical explanation of political phenomena is almost 
a physical necessity, I will bear with you and try to give a logical 
answer. So far is England from being actuated by selfish motives, 
that she has sacrificed, voluntarily, for the sake of this war all 
the liberties she has won throughout the centuries. She has 
spent, and is spending, money without counting. She, a non- 
military nation, has already mobilized and sacrificed, or is pre- 
paring to sacrifice, the flower of her manhood. She is holding the 
seas and keeping open for the Allies the maritime routes of the 
world. All this she is doing, not consciously for herself but for 
the cause. Her people, so slow-minded are they, do not yet realize 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 93 

tha t they are fighting for themselves; so obtuse are they that they 
still think they are fighting for Belgium and for France. 

There was silence for a moment and then an outburst of 
applause that shook the roof. After that, the rest was easy. 
But I shall not easily forget the tension of those few mo- 
ments or the lesson it taught me. 


A PROGRAMME FOR PEACE 

This lecture, which was afterward printed, in an expurgated 
form, and disseminated throughout France by the French 
Government, I repeated presently at Besan§on and at Lyons 
where I found much the same disposition and counteracted it 
with much the same effect as in Paris. But, immediately 
after the Paris lecture, I went with Northcliffe to the Cham- 
pagne front, visited Rheims and the Betheny position, saw 
the effects of German gas attacks, discussed the war with 
General Franchet d’Esperey and General Gouraud, had a first 
experience — that I did not enjoy— . of being shelled by Ger- 
man field guns, and travelled for some yards in an overturned 
car which the driver’s eagerness to pass an exposed point at 
sixty miles an hour had landed in a morass of half-frozen 
mud. But these, and other “ thrills ” incidental to an amateur 
war correspondentship, would have been almost gratifying 
had not the sight of war made upon me an abiding impression 
of horror. I came back persuaded that, if the war were truly 
worth while, it could only be because it was a war to end 
war. Real victory could only be victory over war itself, and 
must be enshrined in such a peace as to make further war 
impossible. The Allies believed themselves to be fighting 
for such a victory; but had they a clear vision of what vic- 
tory must mean, had they a programme for peace? The more 
I thought, the plainer it seemed that they had none and that 
it was of the utmost importance to make a programme. There- 
fore I suggested to the editor that The Times should take in 
hand the formulation of a peace programme or, in other words, 
a definition of “ victory.” Otherwise, I urged, the work might 



94 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


not be done until too late, and the cessation of hostilities 
might find the Allied peoples as unprepared for peace as 
they had been unready for war. 

My suggestion was not accepted. The objection was raised 
that to talk of peace, in the spring of 1916, when the war was 
not only not won but seemed farther than ever from being 
won, would turn public attention away from the main busi- 
ness of winning it towards consideration of hypothetical terms 
of peace. It would be impolitic and perhaps dangerous for a 
great journal like The Times, which had advocated and was 
advocating the prosecution of the war with the utmost vigour, 
to seem to be harbouring thoughts of peace. I felt the force 
of this objection while not agreeing with it, and said that, 
if the work of educating the public to a true conception of 
victory could not be done by or through The Times, I should 
start it elsewhere under my own name and on my own re- 
sponsibility. This was agreed to. Consequently, with the 
assent of its editor, Mr. Harold Cox, I wrote for the Edinburgh 
Review of April, 1916, an article called “ A Programme for 
Peace/ 7 which served to stimulate thought and discussion in 
England; and though the French Government declined to 
sanction its publication in France, no fewer than five manu- 
script translations were spontaneously made there by per- 
sons unknown to me. Its main passage ran: 

This war is essentially a war of peoples, not of kings or dictators. 
But no people can act efficiently without some crystallization of its 
ideas, some canalization of its political instincts. Those who have 
given thought to the matter should therefore put forward their 
conceptions of the practical objects to be attained by the war, if 
only in the hope of provoking a discussion that may help to clear up 
obscure points and to further the acceptance of a general pro- 
gramme. In this hope I venture tentatively to draw up a list of 
what seem to me the essential postulates of a lasting peace. 

(1) That the Allies win the war so thoroughly as to be able 
to dictate their terms. An inconclusive peace, following upon even 
a victorious war, would be but a prelude to a fresh period of arma- 
ments and of preparation for a struggle still more cruel. 

(2) That, as a preliminary step to the winning of the war, the 
British people entrust its management to a few men filled with the 
war spirit and determined to conquer, literally, at all costs. 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 


95 


(3) That the coordination of Allied effort, and particularly of 
Franco-British effort, be carried much farther than it has hitherto 
been. To this end the British forces in France should be regarded 
as an integral part of the French Army, and should receive orders, 
not merely suggestions or advice, from the French Commander- 
in-Chief and his Chief of Staff. Just as the French Navy is, in 
practice, subordinate to the British Navy, so the British Army, with 
its reserves and resources, should be effectively subordinate to the 
French Army which, in the conduct of a Continental War, is at 
least as superior to our Army as the British Navy is superior to 
the French Navy. 

(4) That, as soon as a Government for War shall have been 
formed in Great Britain, a policy of economic alliance between the 
various parts of the Empire, with the help of statesmen from Over- 
sea Dominions, shall be drafted on broad lines. 

(5) That this policy having been formulated and adopted in 
principle, the British Empire, as a whole, shall concert with its 
Allies a scheme for economic defence against Germany and her allies 
both during and after the war. The objects of this scheme would be: 

(a) to tighten the “ blockade” of Germany; 

(b) to convince Germany and her allies that the longer they 
continue the struggle the more complete will be their economic 
ruin, and the more protracted the period of economic servitude 
through which they must pass until they have fully indemnified 
those of the Allies who have most suffered from Germany's action; 

(c) to establish, as a settled principle of Allied Policy that, until 
these indemnities have been fully paid, the British and Allied Navies 
will not recognize the German or any enemy flag upon the high seas; 
and that the Allies will exact such additional guarantees of the 
payment of these indemnities, by occupation of territory or other- 
wise, as may be deemed essential. 

(6) That, simultaneously with the formulation of an Allied 
economic policy, there shall be taken in hand the establishment of 
a definite scheme of European reconstruction, territorial and 
political, such a scheme to include: 

(a) The restoration of Alsace-Lorraine to France; 

(b) The adjustment of Belgian territory in accordance with 
Belgian requirements; 

(c) The constitution of an ethnically complete Serbia in the 
form of a United States of Yugoslavia; 

(d) The constitution of a united self-governing Poland under 
the Russian sceptre. 

(e) The constitution of an independent or, at least, autonomous 
Bohemia, including Moravia and the Slovak country of North- 
western Hungary; 



96 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

(f) The allotment to Rumania of the Rumane regions of Hun- 
gary and the Bukovina, provided that Rumania shall have helped 
effectively to liberate those regions from Hungarian and Austrian 
rule; 

(g) The establishment of the freedom of the Bosphorus and of 
the Dardanelles to shipping, after Russia has secured, or has been 
given, possession of Constantinople. 

(h) The completion of Italian unity by the inclusion within 
the frontiers of the kingdom of Italy of all Italian districts in the 
Trentino and the Carnic Alps, on the Triestine littoral and the 
Istrian coast; the establishment of Italian naval control in the 
Adriatic by the possession of Pola, Lissa, and Valona. . . . 

We do not know in what form proposals for peace will be made. 
The first proposal may be for an armistice, during which conditions 
would be debated. Such an armistice would oblige the Allies to 
keep their millions of men mobilized, ready to resume hostilities 
should negotiations break down. The longer the armistice and the 
more protracted the negotiations, the more irksome would be the 
state of armed inactivity to the men in the field, and the keener 
the desire for a rapid settlement that would restore them to their 
civil occupations and relieve the burden upon taxpayers. In these 
circumstances, the tendency to compromise upon essential points 
might become too strong for any Allied Government to withstand. 
Germany, we may be sure, will seek to exploit these possibilities. 
It behoves us, therefore, to guard against them in advance. 

The best means of guarding against them is the formulation of a 
clear-cut minimum programme which must be accepted by the 
enemy before any armistice can be conceded. . . . 

There is yet another and final argument in favour of the formula- 
tion of a minimum peace programme by the Allies before peace 
negotiations begin. The reconstruction of Europe will be a hard 
task Were the work to be left entirely to a diplomatic congress 
sitting in secret after the strain of war has passed away, the Allied 
peoples, to whose determination and self-sacrifice victory will have 
been due, might find themselves confronted with a series of ac- 
complished facts hardly differing in quality from the grotesque 
abominations perpetrated by the Congress of Vienna. . . . 

It is necessary, therefore, that the broad conditions of a European 
settlement should be discussed and agreed upon in advance by 
groups of competent persons in the Allied countries. It should be 
the task of these groups to explain to the public the bearings of 
the various questions awaiting solution, and to create a sound public 
opinion which may compel governments to “ run straight.” How- 
ever disheartening it may be that democratic governments should 
in this war have proved, on the whole, so inferior to their task of 



97 


THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 

leadership and so incapable of rising above personal or party con- 
ceptions; however roundabout, slow, and uneconomical may be the 
method of driving a government, by pressure of public opinion, to 
do the duty it ought to have done spontaneously, there is at least 
this compensation, that in future we shall not be saddled with pseudo- 
dictators who might prove as incompetent for the tasks of peace 
as are our lawyers and other political hacks for the tasks of war. 

Groups of competent persons are now being formed in the 
principal Allied countries; these groups will endeavour to keep in 
close touch with each other, so that their influence upon the public 
opinion and, through public opinion, their pressure upon the gov- 
ernments of their respective countries, may be concordant and 
simultaneous. 

In the course of this article — which, it should be remem- 
bered, was written in March, 1916 — 1 reiterated a plea I 
had already put forward in the Edinburgh Review of October, 
1915, for the radical transformation of Austria-Hungary as 
an essential condition of any lasting peace; and, after ex- 
plaining the danger of merely granting territorial “ compensa- 
tion ” to Serbia instead of uniting with her the Southern Slav 
provinces of Austria-Hungary on a basis of equality, I advo- 
cated the creation of a “ united Bohemian-Moravian-Slovak ” 
State that would stretch from the Saxon border to the Danube 
at Pressburg. With the question of Polish independence, it 
was then — a year before the Russian revolution — impossible 
to deal without reference to Russia. The terms of that special 
problem were radically modified before the end of the war. 
But on rereading my “ programme ” to-day I still think it 
formed an adequate point of departure for the movement of 
opinion which I wished to foster. 

THE CZECHO-SLOVAKS AND THE YUGOSLAVS 

Naturally, the views I expressed were not mine alone. Dur- 
ing the spring and summer of 1915, Masaryk, Supilo and 
Trumbitch were in London, while Dr. Benes, Masaryk’s 
right-hand man, had also found his way thither in the au- 
tumn. Before the war, Benes had been a lecturer on So- 
ciology at the Czech University of Prague. When, in the 
autumn of 1914, Masaryk managed to go to Rome, Benee 



98 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

stayed behind and organized a secret intelligence service that 
kept Masaryk informed. Subsequently, at the risk of his 
life, Bene§ escaped into Switzerland, where he joined Masaryk 
and thereafter remained with him in exile. Madame Benes 
was arrested at Prague, as Masaryk’s eldest daughter, Alice, 
had been. These ladies bore imprisonment as part of their 
contribution to the national cause. Harder to bear were 
the tactics of the Austrian prison authorities who played with 
them as cats with mice, telling them one day that sentence of 
death would be executed on the morrow, announcing at the 
last moment a postponement, only to repeat the torture at 
intervals. The health of Madame Masaryk was permanently 
impaired, that of Madame Benes suffered severely, and the 
life of Miss Alice Masaryk was saved only by an agitation 
in the United States which induced the American Government 
to intervene on her behalf. Some of the unfortunate Southern 
Slav members of the Austrian Parliament who were unable 
to escape were treated even more cruelly. Dr. Smodlaka, 
the popular Dalmatian leader and one of the most erudite 
men in Austria, was thrown into prison, while his wife and 
family were sent to a Concentration camp. To him, reports 
of the sufferings and illness of his wife and children were 
daily given, while to them his impending execution was peri- 
odically announced. 


MASARYK AND BENES 

Masaryk I had long admired; but not until I saw him 
during the ordeal of those years did I realize the full strength 
of his moral character. His home had been everything to 
him. A model husband and father, he was tenderly attached 
to his wife (an American lady) and to his children. The 
threat that they would be executed, unless he returned to 
Austria, was kept constantly hanging over him. The choice 
between death upon an Austrian gallows in the hope of saving 
those whom he loved, and of staying abroad, in the knowledge 
that his work for the national cause might mean their death, 
was as hard as any ever offered to a sensitive, high-minded 



99 


THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 

man. He seldom spoke of this daily torment even to his 
most intimate friends; but I can still see him standing one 
day in my study when a paragraph in the newspapers an- 
nounced the approaching execution of his daughter. He then 
said simply: “Before a man does what I am doing he has 
to count the whole cost to himself and others. I have counted 
the cost and must bear whatever befalls. I feel that my first 
duty is to the nation.” 

BeneS faced his ordeal with equal heroism. When Masaryk 
first brought him to me in December, 1915, he was still a typi- 
cal young professor of an Austrian University, speaking little 
French or English but fluent in German. Hermann Bahr, the 
Austrian-German writer, once said that, in Germany and 
German Austria, “ culture ” had become crystallized and that, 
in order to find German “ culture ” at its best, it was necessary 
to know the Austrian Slavs. They had taken it up at the 
point where the Germans embalmed it, had breathed into it 
new life and had carried it forward. This saying was exempli- 
fied in Benes as well as in Masaryk, though Masaryk was the 
philosopher, with a broad, universal view of things, whereas 
Benes was his faithful disciple and practical helper. In the 
early months of his exile, Benes was essentially a Central 
European with an Austrian cast of mind. The expansion and 
the gradual “ westernizing ” of Beneg, his rapid assimilation 
of the Allied standpoint and the quick adjustment to it of his 
earlier views and tendencies, were among the most interesting 
mental phenomena I have ever observed. He made Paris his 
headquarters, while Masaryk stayed mainly in London until 
the Russian Revolution early in 1917, when Masaryk went 
to Russia to lead the Czecho-Slovaks there and to organize 
their legion. On his departure, the organization of the move- 
ment and the administration of the Czech National Fund, 
which was raised chiefly by the Czechs in the United States, 
were mainly in the hands of Benes, who was frequently 
called to London. In those days the route from Havre to 
Southampton was alone open to civilians; and Benes, who 
was invariably sea-sick, hated the journey which the British 
police thought right to make as unpleasant for him as possible. 



100 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Yet BeneS, whom I saw whenever he came, never complained; 
and I might not have known of his difficulties had not a Scot- 
land Yard Inspector, attached to the British Passport office 
at Havre, taken me aside in January, 1917, and whispered: 

“ Do you know anything about a fellow who calls himself 
Beenees, sir? We don’t like him. We know he is an Austrian, 
yet he comes through here, from time to time, with a Serbian 
passport. How can an Austrian be a Serbian? He is very 
mysterious and we have put a black mark against him. When- 
ever he turns up, though his papers seem to be in order, we 
run him in for a bit, so as to make him miss his boat. But 
we have not yet been able to catch him out.” 

I felt it would be hopeless to explain to this worthy detec- 
tive the intricacies of Austrian politics, and how an “ Aus- 
trian ” might be in possession of a Serbian passport. So I 
said: 

“ My dear Inspector, Beenees is a very important man. He 
is a friend of mine and is straight as a die. You had better 
not run him in any more. Before very long, that fellow may 
be signing passports which you will have to respect; and then 
he may tell our Government that a certain Scotland Yard In- 
spector at Havre is a nuisance and ought to be removed. So 
treat him kindly.” 

Thereafter, “ Beenees ” suffered no more, in a British 
“ quod ” at Havre, from seasickness deferred. He became 
friends with the vigilant Inspector, whom he rather admired 
for taking no risks in the case of suspected enemy aliens. In- 
deed, none of us were quite free at that time from the atten- 
tions of the police, however well known we might be to the 
authorities at Scotland Yard. Seton-Watson once spent a lurid 
forty-eight hours in saving Masaryk from arrest at Hamp- 
stead, though Masaryk was then in frequent consultation with 
the Foreign Office; and Supilo got into serious trouble by try- 
ing to call upon Sir Edward Grey in Northumberland; I also 
roused the suspicions of a local London detective. He had 
got it into his head that I was “ something foreign ” and 
would not accept my asseverations to the contrary. Not 
even the production of my birth certificate, showing that I 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 


101 


was a born East Anglian, availed to convince him. As it 
happened, my passport required renewal and could not be 
produced for some days. When I received it and showed it 
to the detective, he exclaimed triumphantly, on seeing me de- 
scribed as “Foreign Editor of The Times,” “ There it is in 
black and white. I knew you were something foreign.” Then 
I thought it time to ask Scotland Yard to call their zealous 
servant to order. 

In June, 1916, Northcliffe visited the British front and 
stayed at Headquarters with General Sir Douglas Haig who 
was then completing his preparations for the great British 
offensive on the Somme which was to begin on July 1st. By 
that time, there were 660,000 British troops in the line or in 
reserve. From this first offensive of the new armies, which 
had at length been supplied with what were thought to be 
an adequate number of guns and plenty of munitions, great 
things were hoped. General Joffre, whom I had seen again 
at Chantilly in March, had spoken of it with joyful anticipa- 
tion. He agreed entirely with Sir Douglas Haig that it would 
have been shortsighted to detach divisions from the new 
British armies to reinforce the French at Verdun. But, un- 
fortunately, British artillerymen were not then by any means 
as expert as they afterwards became; and, soon after the be- 
ginning of the Somme battle, Sir Douglas Haig had the wis- 
dom to ask for the loan of some scores of French artillery 
officers to teach our men the niceties of curtain fire and of 
artillery concentration. Upon the glories and disappointments 
of the Somme fighting in July, 1916, I shall not expatiate. 
They belong to military history. 

THE ITALIAN FBONT 

When the first offensive on the Somme had spent itself, 
Northcliffe accepted an invitation to visit the Italian front 
and asked me to accompany him. We started from Paris 
and went straight through to Udine, then Italian General 
Headquarters. Italian preparations for a determined offen- 
sive against Austria had just been completed, after having 



102 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

been delayed by an unexpected Austrian attack in the Tren- 
tino, or Southern Tyrol, towards the middle of May. Un- 
known to the Italians, the Austrians had concentrated a 
strong striking force in the valley of the Upper Adige and 
might have succeeded in breaking through the Italian de- 
fences and reaching the plains in the neighbourhood of Vi- 
cenza had not a fortunate circumstance given General Ca- 
dorna, the Italian Commander-in-Chief, knowledge of their 
concentration in the nick of time. A young Slovak astron- 
omer, named Stefanik, who had been working for some years 
at the Paris Observatory and had been studying the currents 
of the upper air both theoretically and as a practical aviator, 
had joined the French Army on the outbreak of war and had 
distinguished himself as a pilot. In 1915 he was sent to 
Serbia and, though badly hurt during the Serbian retreat, he 
applied, in the spring of 1916, for permission to serve on the 
Italian front, where he proposed to fly over Austrian positions 
held by Czech troops and to drop among them Czech procla- 
mations in the name of Masaryk. According to Italian mili- 
tary intelligence, the two Czech divisions were then stationed 
in the Upper Adige valley. Stefanik, who possessed remark- 
able eyesight, hoped to discover them; but, on reaching his 
objective, he noticed not two but a dozen Austrian divisions 
concentrated there, with strong artillery and obviously on 
the eve of an offensive. He flew back at once to Italian head- 
quarters and reported his discovery. The Austrian offensive 
began before adequate measures could be taken, but Cadorna 
was able to hurry up reinforcements and to check the Aus- 
trians on the very edge of the Asiago high plateau, within 
sight of Vicenza. Though the danger was thus averted, Ca- 
dorna, for reasons of his own, still kept a large concentration 
of troops and artillery in the region. 

When Northcliffe and I reached Udine, Cadorna had just 
executed one of the most brilliant manoeuvres of the war. 
Choosing as his immediate objective the Gorizia bridgehead 
on the river Isonzo, he transferred his whole force swiftly and 
secretly from the neighbourhood of Vicenza to the Isonzo, 
and unexpectedly struck at the Austrian defences. In a few 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 


103 


hours the key positions were carried, the Isonzo crossed, and 
Gorizia taken, the fall of this important town having been 
facilitated by the action of a Southern Slav officer, Colonel 
Turudjija, who came over to the Italians and revealed the 
Austrian positions in the hope of helping the Allied cause and 
of promoting the creation of a united Southern Slav State, or 
Yugoslavia. 

On hearing that Gorizia had fallen, we determined to follow 
the Italian troops into the city. Official permission was not 
given, nor was it absolutely refused. An elderly Italian Colo- 
nel was attached to us with instructions to keep us out of 
danger; but by the time our car had deposited us in the 
ruined village of Lucinico, a mile or two west of the Isonzo, 
we told him that we were going on foot to Gorizia. We 
trudged through the heat and the dust towards the Isonzo, 
across a battlefield strewn with the debris of war. Austrian 
shrapnel was still bursting at intervals over the main Isonzo 
bridge which pioneers were hastily mending. But, as fast as 
they mended one hole, the Austrian shells made others. We 
reached the bridge under cover of the high embankment upon 
which its western end rests, and were preparing to make a 
dash across the bridge itself when a strange, lanky figure, 
dressed in khaki with a sun helmet and dark goggles, stopped 
me and said in English, “ What on earth are you doing here? ” 
When he had removed his goggles, I recognized him as George 
Trevelyan, the historian of Garibaldi, brother of Charles Tre- 
velyan who had left the Government with Morley and John 
Bums on the outbreak of war. He, too, had conscientious 
scruples about the war, but none about risking his own life in 
caring for the wounded. Consequently, he had gone to the 
Italian front in charge of a British Red Cross unit, and was 
at that moment trying to get his ambulances across the bridge 
into Gorizia. In so “ unhealthy ” a spot our conversation was 
as short as it was cordial. Trevelyan hurried away to his 
base, got his ambulances over that night under shell fire, and 
brought back his wounded in triumph. There was not a 
braver Englishman on the whole Allied front, and he was 
presently decorated for valour by the Italians for rescuing 



104 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


wounded men under fire; but I wonder whether Italians or 
any other foreigners will ever understand the scruples of men 
like him, though they form an essential ingredient of many 
of the best English characters. 

Gorizia, with its strong proportion of Slav inhabitants and 
its signboards in German as well as in Italian, seemed 
strangely familiar to me. There was an unmistakably Aus- 
trian stamp on the place. We inspected the city, which had 
suffered little, recrossed the Isonzo, not without attentions 
from Austrian gunners, and visited the Monte Sabotino, the 
fortified Austrian position which the Italians had carried on 
August 6th. Here the sights and sounds and smells of war 
were almost overpowering in the great heat. Among them I 
remember the phenomenon that, in the clear air, the big 
Italian shells were visible for a mile or more of their journey 
towards the enemy. 

Excursions on following days took us to the front line of 
the rocky Carso, or Karst, the arid limestone plateau that 
runs from the Isonzo along the Adriatic to Istria. Here the 
Italians had gained much ground despite the terrible heat 
and the difficulty of bringing up water and supplies. By 
chance I met Captain Giovanni Visconti Venosta, the younger 
son of my old friend, whom I had last seen as a youth in his 
early teens at his father’s chateau in the Valtellina before I 
had left Italy for Austria in 1902. He was returning with 
a handful of men from a daring reconnaissance into the village 
of Oppacchiasella of which he had held one end while the 
Austrians held the other, and had managed to hold on until 
the enemy were driven out. The conditions on the Carso had 
to be seen and felt to be realized. On the waterless lime- 
stone, empty cartridge cases became so hot that they burned 
my fingers as I picked them up. The trenches were blasted 
out of the solid rock and the wire entanglements fixed to iron 
stanchions for which holes had been drilled. Between the 
Italian and the Austrian barbed wire I saw a gruesome sight. 
From a distance it looked like a kneeling ape, but proved, on 
closer examination, to be the desiccated body of an Italian 
soldier who had volunteered to reconnoitre the enemy defences 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 105 

and had been shot when crawling towards them. As neither 
side could bring him in, his body had been dried by the heat 
and had remained in the posture in which he had fallen. 

KING VICTOR EMMANUEL 

After the disaster of Caporetto in October, 1917, it became 
the fashion to decry the abilities of General Cadorna and 
the work of the Italian Army under his command. All I can 
say is that he struck both Northcliffe and me as very much of 
a man and certainly not inferior in mental or moral calibre 
to any of the Allied Commanders whom we had met. We 
were also impressed by the King of Italy whom I had not 
met before, though I had watched, with a critical eye, the first 
few years of his reign. His headquarters were in a small 
villa near the front, and he spent much of his time in the 
trenches. To a suggestion that he should come to England 
he objected vigorously saying, in English, that he was “ not 
good at the representative business ” and that he could not 
make speeches. 

“ You may tell Lord Northcliffe that, Sir,” I remarked, “ but 
you must not say it to me, for I heard you deliver your first 
Speech from the Throne on August 11, 1900. Not many ora- 
tors could have said, * Unafraid and sure, I ascend the Throne ' 
as you said it, or have delivered the rest of the speech in a 
tone like your Majesty's.” 

As I quoted these words and another passage from the 
speech in Italian, the King asked quickly, also in Italian, 
“ Where did you learn that? Did you get it up for the oc- 
casion? ” 

“ No, Sir,” I answered, “ but I heard you make the speech 
sixteen years ago.” 

“ You are a terrible fellow,” he said. “ You must have 
a memory like a phonograph. What I meant was that I am 
not like the German Emperor. He always knows what to 
say. If his car breaks down in a village, he is certain to pull 
out the name of the famous violinist who died or that of the 



106 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


mediseval painter who was bom there. I am a very poor 
hand at that trade.” 

The ice having thus been broken, the King spoke freely. 
We had expected a few minutes’ audience; but more than an 
hour passed before the arrival of a general from the front 
put an end to a frank discussion of the war and of Italy’s 
part in it. The King showed himself much wiser than his 
Government. He understood the war in all its implications 
and was fully alive to the importance of the Southern Slav 
question, though the expression of his views was strictly con- 
stitutional. But in speaking of his soldiers he waxed eloquent 
and talked without reserve. 

After visiting the camps of Austrian prisoners, from some 
of whom I was able to glean valuable information about con- 
ditions in Austria, Northcliffe and I set out for Cortina d’Am- 
pezzo and the Italian front in the direction of the Pustertal. 
I knew this part of the country well and could hardly realize 
that it was no longer Austrian. One morning, on waking in 
a room of the Hotel zur Post at Cortina, the German notices 
on the walls and the typical Austrian furniture made me for- 
get all that had happened since I had last been there in 1912. 
But when I went in search of an acquaintance who had lived 
in the village, he could not be found, and I learned from the 
Italian Commander that he had been killed the day before 
our arrival by one of the heavy shells which the Austrians 
were still firing from long range into the place. 

NORTHCLIFFE IN VENICE 

From the region of Cortina, where the Italians had placed 
field guns on apparently inaccessible peaks and had organized 
a system of military acrobatics that bore astounding witness 
to their ingenuity, we went through Belluno to Vicenza and 
on to the Asiago high plateau. By a singular chance, the 
Italian Commander at Vicenza occupied the villa of Antonio 
Fogazzaro, the famous Italian writer, whom I had visited 
there in 1912, and I wondered what Fogazzaro would have 
thought of the war whicn had revived in Italian hearts the 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 


107 


emotions of his “ Piccolo Mondo Antico ” and which was 
sweeping away his “ Piccolo Mondo Moderno.” But for 
musing there was little leisure. I soon found that, if North- 
cliffe were to stand the strain of campaigning day after day 
from dawn till eve, and to produce despatches that would be 
creditable to him and to The Times, he would have to be 
carefully nursed. Therefore I made him go to bed at 9 p.m., 
jotted down his observations and spent the greater part of 
each night in writing the despatch myself so that it should 
be ready for the censor at 6 a.m. before the next day's cam- 
paigning began. When we had finished our tour I was thor- 
oughly weary; and as we had forty-eight hours' grace before 
keeping an appointment with Sonnino in Rome, I suggested 
that we should spend a day in Venice. Northcliffe demurred. 
His conception of Venice was that of a toy playground for 
tourists. He had never been there because, he said, he always 
meant to keep Venice in reserve for his old age when he 
should have retired from work and could dream away idle 
hours in an embalmed city. At last he acquiesced reluctantly 
with the air of a man who was spoiling a cherished project. 
As the train ran over the viaduct from Mestre across the 
lagoon, and the “ back view " of Venice, with the iron chim- 
neys and ugly modern buildings, came into sight, he exclaimed, 
“This can't be Venice; this is Chicago from the lake," a re- 
mark both humorous and apt. But a leisurely tour of the 
Grand Canal, a prolonged visit to St. Mark's, the Piazza, 
the Doge’s Palace, the Frari and the return by moonlight to 
the railway station, left him dumb with amazement. The 
unexpected size of the place overwhelmed him as much as 
its beauty. He vowed that, after the war, he would live there 
for some months each year. Yet he had only seen Venice in 
her war dress, with every important monument encased in 
sandbags as a protection against air raids. On the other 
hand, he had seen Venice as few tourists ever see her, empty 
of strangers, uncannily silent and gracious with the grace of 
a fragile invalid. He never saw Venice again, but he was 
always grateful to me for having forced him to go there. 



108 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


A CITIZEN OF MINNESOTA 

From Rome, where we had considerable talk with Son- 
nino — whom I found stubborn in defence of the Treaty of 
London and unwilling to discuss the larger aspects of the 
war — we turned northward to Switzerland. If Rome, with 
her brightly lighted streets, far removed from fear of air 
raids, had seemed strangely unwarlike, the atmosphere of 
neutral Switzerland was stifling. At Zurich, Northcliffe and 
I parted company for a day. He went to Berne and thence 
to Miirren where a large Red Cross camp had been organized 
for wounded British prisoners from Germany. To the Red 
Cross he was devoted heart and soul. He had opened in The 
Times a Red Cross Fund which ultimately produced £16,- 
000,000, and he felt personally responsible for the proper ex- 
penditure of the money. I had business in another direction. 
An English Roman Catholic friend had urged me to see in 
Switzerland the General of the Jesuits, Father Ledochowski, 
whose headquarters were then in the summer residence of the 
Bishop of Chur, at Zizers, near the Austrian frontier. From 
the Swiss frontier I had telegraphed to ask whether Father 
Ledochowski could receive me next day; and at Zurich I 
found an affirmative reply. Having despatched Northcliffe 
to Berne at 7 a.m., I took a train eastward an hour later. 
It was a raw morning, cold and rainy. On one seat of the 
compartment into which I climbed lay a man at full length, 
with his back towards me and apparently asleep. By the cut 
of his clothes and the trim of his beard he was a Viennese of 
good standing. “ An Austrian diplomatist,” I thought, and 
felt sorely tempted to read the name on the label of his 
travelling bag. While I hesitated, the sleeper awoke, stretched 
himself, sat up, and ejaculated with an unmistakable Viennese 
accent: 

“ Scheussliches Wetter !” (Horrible weather). 

I agreed with him, as nearly as possible in the same accent, 
and we began talking. Though I had spoken little German for 
three years, the sound of his voice and the feeling that an 
Austrian sat opposite to me transported me again to Vienna, 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 


109 


and I was conscious of speaking German, or rather Austrian 
German, as well as I had ever spoken it. As far as I was 
aware, I made no mistake of gender or syntax. When we 
had left the lake of Zurich behind and were running into 
eastern Switzerland, my companion said: 

“ I suppose you are from this part of the country? ” 

“ No,” I answered, “ I am American.” 

“ You speak uncommonly good German for an American.” 

“ In the United States we talk a lot of German,” I re- 
turned; “ besides, I lived in Vienna for a time some years 
ago.” 

“ That one can hear. What is your State? ” 

“ Minnesota,” I replied, without hesitation — my sudden 
adoption of that distinguished State being perhaps prompted 
by a recollection that it has a considerable Scandinavian and 
German population and by the idea that my companion might 
not know enough about it to ask awkward questions. 

“ Well,” he said, “ I am in charge of the American Depart- 
ment at the Ballplatz ” (the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Of- 
fice). “What do people think of the war in America? Are 
they going to elect Woodrow Wilson again? ” 

“ The Lord hath delivered thee into my hands,” I thought; 
and, replying to his question, I predicted “ the chances are 
that Wilson will get his second term by a small majority.” 

“ Donnerwetter! that's bad,” said the Austrian diplomatist. 
“ There is no relying on the fellow. I suppose you know 
Penfield, your Ambassador, and Grant Smith, your Counsellor 
of Embassy in Vienna? ” 

“ I don't know Penfield, but I know Grant Smith,” I said 
quite truthfully. “ They must have plenty to do.” 

“ Yes,” was the reply, “ but they seem to know nothing 
about public opinion in the United States. What do people 
think over there?” 

“ They hardly know what to think,” I answered. “ They 
are bombarded daily by all sorts of propaganda. Those pig- 
dogs of British swamp us with their stuff; and, as they con- 
trol the cables, we cannot expect to get the truth from them. 
But the Germans are just as bad, or worse. They flood us 



110 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


with wireless, which we believe until something happens to 
prove it all wrong. The French, the Italians, all of them, in 
fact, do their best to bewilder us. It is not until we come to 
this side that we can really get definite impressions.” 

“ What impression did you get? ” he asked eagerly. 

“ Well,” I said, “ you know that the British compel us to 
land at Liverpool. They treat us abominably, as though we 
were all spies. They strip us and search us, keep us waiting 
hours for a train, and when they let us start for London we 
are held up every few miles. A journey that used to take 
less than five hours now takes ten.” 

“ Is their railway service so disorganized? ” 

“ No, it’s not that. You see the whole country is alive with 
soldiers, creeping with them. The British are raising armies 
as though they mean the war to last twenty years. Troop 
trains, crammed to suffocation, have precedence over ordi- 
nary traffic. Then come the trains with artillery — big guns, 
field guns, machine guns, miles of them. Then, other trains 
full of shells. It’s a tremendous spectacle. It fairly bowled 
me over. I thought the British were getting tired, but in 
England people seem to think that they are only just be- 
ginning.” 

My companion’s face grew long and he looked worried. 

“ You don’t mean to say that,” he exclaimed. “ That’s 
awful. But London, what is London like? ” 

“ London is a little quieter than it used to be, but things 
are going on in much the same way as before the war. The 
rations are strict but there is plenty of food. The subma- 
rines don’t seem to bother the people, and they snap their fin- 
gers at air raids. When an air raid is announced, they all 
bolt into the Tubes, or go down into the cellars and come out 
smiling when the raid is over. They think they are bound 
to win in time and they don’t seem to care how long it takes. 

“ But what one sees in England is nothing,” I added cheer- 
fully. “ It is in France that one is really impressed. After 
hammering the Germans at Verdun, the French believe they 
can knock them into a cocked hat. There’s a confidence about 
them that is perfectly amazing. If in England munitions are 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 111 

rolling in like the waves of the sea, in France they are being 
turned out in cataracts. Before I came to this side, I thought 
the French were pretty well bled white. But now I have 
been in France I really think they are going to give the 
Germans the devil of a hiding. What do you think? ” 

By this time my companion’s eyes had filled with tears. 
“ What you say is terrible,” he murmured. “ We thought that 
the war would soon be over. Anyhow, the Italians are worth 
nothing. Have you been in Italy? ” 

“ No,” I said. “ I may go there later. But a friend of 
mine who came from Italy the other day tells me that the 
Italian Army is now much better than it was at first and 
that it is becoming very efficient. This last offensive seems 
to have put new life into it. But you, as an Austrian, ought 
to know all about that.” 

“ Have you been in Germany? ” the Austrian asked 
anxiously. “ I think you might get a good impression there. 
If you will come to Vienna I will arrange for you to see 
something of our army, and then you shall go to the Ger- 
man front.” 

“ I should like that very much,” I said, “ but I have im- 
portant business in Switzerland and must get out at Land- 
quart, the next station.” 

My companion said he was sorry, and made me promise 
to come on to Vienna as soon as I could. Then, as I got 
out of the train at Landquart, he shook both my hands 
warmly and thanked me in a sad voice for the valuable in- 
formation I had given him. As the train started, I retreated 
into the waiting room and laughed more heartily than I had 
laughed for many a day. I felt that the “ citizen of Minne- 
sota ” had perhaps done a useful bit of Allied propaganda. 

THE GENERAL OP THE JESUITS 

At Zizers I was received by an elderly English Jesuit be- 
longing to an old Lancashire Roman Catholic family. Rarely 
have I met a man gentler in manner or with a more spiritual 
face. He wished to know the precise object of my visit, and 



112 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


explained that the General would receive me immediately afte> 
luncheon. To him I could only adumbrate my purpose, for I 
wished to see how the General himself would “ react ” to what 
I had to say. Beyond the fact that Father Ledochowski was 
a relative of my old friend and political mentor, Count 
Dzieduszycki, I knew little of him. Memories of the power 
wielded by the Jesuits at the Vatican in the days of Leo 
XIII, when Father Martin was General and Cardinals Maz- 
zella and Steinhuber represented the Society of Jesus in the 
Sacred College, made me, however, look forward to inter- 
course with the man who was, presumably, more effectively 
influential than any member of the Roman Church. After 
luncheon he appeared, entering the room silently and sud- 
denly. Instead of the impressive ecclesiastic, conscious of 
power, whom I had expected to see, I found a slight, almost 
boyish figure, which might have been that of any well-bred 
Seminarist. My heart sank, for I doubted instinctively 
whether he would understand the ideas I wished to lay before 
him. 

“ Father,” I said, “ when I have explained the purpose of 
my visit, you may find it extraordinary; but since you have 
had the kindness to receive me, I shall speak quite frankly 
without expecting assent or dissent from you. In any case I 
do not come as a journalist seeking an 1 interview/ I come as 
an enquirer interested in religious matters and persuaded that 
the Roman Church, in which you hold so eminent a place, may 
be deeply, perhaps vitally affected by the outcome of the 
war. From the beginning, I have been persuaded that there 
can be only one outcome. The Allies will fight through to 
complete victory. Had I not known as much as I know of the 
Vatican, I should have been surprised by its attitude towards 
the war and, in particular, towards the violation of Belgian 
neutrality. Most Englishmen think that his Holiness the Pope 
has been studiously neutral between right and wrong; but I 
am aware that ordinary mundane conceptions of right and 
wrong have no currency in exalted circles at Rome, and that 
Vatican policy is guided solely by what are held to be the 
permanent interests of the Church. The view of the in- 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 113 

terests of the Church which I wish to lay before you is an 
outsider's view. I am not a Roman Catholic nor am I ag- 
gressively Protestant; but it seems to me that the prediction 
once made to me by your relative, Count Dzieduszycki, may 
now be fulfilled if the Church is wise. He, who was a sin- 
cere Catholic, though of larger mind and wider culture than 
most Catholics, claimed that the Reformation damaged the 
Church less on account of the schism it provoked than by in- 
ducing the Church, as he put it, to sell her soul to temporal 
sovereigns, to make of the Altar a mere buttress of the 
Throne, to forgo her mission as protectress of the weak 
against the power of the strong. The Counter-Reformation, in 
which your Order played so vigorous a part, deflected the 
Church from her true path and made of the extirpation of 
heresy a more urgent business than the teaching of the Gos- 
pel by word and example. Not until an opportunity should 
offer for the Church again to defend Christian peoples against 
political tyranny, to stand with them, if necessary, against 
potentates and dynasties, would she be able, Count Dziedus- 
zycki believed, to return to the right path and to exercise her 
true mission. 

“ It seems to me that this opportunity has now arisen; and 
I have come to ask you — you whom men call the ‘ Black 
Pope ' and whose influence is sometimes thought to be decisive 
over the mind of His Holiness the ‘ White Pope ' — whether 
the Church sees this opportunity, whether she intends to 
support the dynasties merely because they represent the prin- 
ciple of authority, or whether she will strive to lead the peoples, 
in harmony with herself, towards a happier future?" 

A look of blank surprise came over the General's face. He 
remarked that Dzieduszycki had been a very worthy and 
cultivated man but a little eccentric. 

“ Yes," I answered, “ he had the eccentricity of the seer; 
but I think he saw truly. Let us take a case in point. The 
Hapsburg Dynasty, which is Catholic and has therefore some 
claim upon the Church — though it has kicked and cuffed 
the Church mercilessly whenever it thought fit — is doomed 
to disappear. It has challenged the conscience of the world 



114 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


and has provoked a struggle from which there can be no issue 
save in its disappearance and in the liberation of its sub- 
ject peoples. What I wish to know is whether the Roman 
Church is going to link her fortunes to those of an effete 
dynasty, to serve as its henchman, or whether she is going 
to lead the peoples? Does she intend to oppose the libera- 
tion of the Czechs and Slovaks, for instance, at the risk of 
seeing them return to the Hussite faith? Is she going to op- 
pose Southern Slav unity at the risk of seeing Strossmayer’s 
threat to Pius IX fulfilled — that the Croats would one day 
forsake Catholicism for Orthodoxy if Catholicism were to be 
an obstacle to their national redemption? In a word, does the 
Church intend to march with the times or to lag behind 
them and see her influence yet further curtailed? ” 

What the General said in reply I cannot repeat, for he made 
it a condition that it should be confidential. But it showed 
conclusively that, for all practical purposes, I might as well 
have talked Sanskrit to him. Presently he reverted to politics 
and told me eagerly that a revolution in Poland was certain 
and that there would soon be a revolution in Russia also. In 
saying this his tone and bearing were those of an ardent 
Polish patriot in whose eyes the cause of Poland was identical 
with that of Catholicism. His information was remarkably 
accurate in detail. He seemed, indeed, to be the head of a 
great Intelligence Bureau; and when I mentioned to him the 
name of one of his principal secret representatives in south- 
eastern Europe, of whose doings I had long known, he showed 
surprise and special interest. But I could get from him no 
hint of any care for the bigger issues which I had wished to 
discuss with him. 


THE BITER BIT 

Early next morning I went from Zurich to rejoin North- 
cliffe at Berne. As the train started, another passenger en- 
tered my compartment. He opened a conversation by asking 
me in German if I could give him a match. We talked a while 
in German — which he spoke badly — until he asked whether 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 115 

I spoke French. In French, his Russian accent was so un- 
mistakable that I said: 

“ You are a Russian.” 

“Yes and no,” he answered. “I am from the south of 
Russia.” 

“ That means you are a Little Russian,” I said. 

“ Quite right,” he replied; and began to expatiate upon the 
Little Russian, or Ukraine question, on which I expressed 
views based on my experience in Vienna and on talks with 
Mgr. Count Szeptycki, the Uniate Archbishop of Lemberg. 

Suddenly my companion said, “ You are Mr. Steed.” 

“ How do you know? ” I asked. 

“ You have just repeated textually what you wrote in your 
book ‘ The Hapsburg Monarchy * three years ago on the Uk- 
raine question.” 

“ Quite right,” I answered, “ and you are M. Stepankowski, 
the agent of Mgr. Count Szeptycki. You called upon me in 
Vienna towards the end of 1912 but then you wore a mous- 
tache whereas you are now clean shaven.” 

He admitted the impeachment and we looked at each other 
with the air of two masked men who had just detected each 
other’s identity. Travelling in Switzerland in wartime, I 
thought, is full of pitfalls. Yesterday I caught an Austrian 
and now a Little Russian has caught me. 

When I entered Northcliffe’s room at Berne he said, “ You 
had a bad day yesterday.” 

“ What makes you think that? ” \ 

“ You have disappointment written all over your body,” he 
exclaimed — a typical instance of Northcliffe’s faculty for 
reading the minds of others. 

I confessed my disappointment. It was not that I had ex- 
pected the General of the Jesuits to see things from my stand- 
point or even to look upon the war as a moral issue. But I 
had hoped that he would have shown himself akin in spirit, 
not indeed, to Cardinal Mercier, whom the sufferings of Bel- 
gium might be held to have biased, but to Catholics of the 
type of Dzieduszycki. A few months later, I met at Mont- 
pellier an eminent French Churchman and a Royalist to 



116 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


boot, Cardinal de Cabrieres, the senior member of the French 
ecclesiastical hierarchy. To him I mentioned my talk with 
Father Ledochowski and asked whether my suggestions had 
been wholly incompatible with the interests of the Church. 

“ They were suggestions,” he answered, “ which I or any 
other Churchman alive to the bearings of this struggle might 
have made; but had you consulted me beforehand I should 
have warned you not to make them to a Jesuit, least of all 
to a General of the Jesuits. You asked him in effect to dis- 
avow the whole work and purpose of his Order, to understand 
things which he has been trained to be incapable of under- 
standing. One day — for we must not doubt Divine wis- 
dom — there may arise in the Church men who will conceive 
her mission loftily and will lead her towards the fulfillment of 
it. But not yet, not yet.” 


SPAIN 

From Berne Northcliffe and I went to Geneva and thence 
to Paris. Even in Geneva, ardently pro-Ally though the 
French-Swiss were, the atmosphere of neutrality was still 
oppressive and we both heaved a sigh of relief when, at the 
Franco-Swiss frontier station of Bellegarde, we saw the 
horizon-blue uniforms again. Thence we returned to Paris 
and started at once for San Sebastian. We had been invited 
to spend two days with Sir Douglas Haig at British Head- 
quarters on September 9th; and, in the interval, Northcliffe 
was anxious to see something of German propaganda in 
Spain. From San Sebastian we went by car along the north- 
ern coast, striking southward from Santander to Oviedo, Leon, 
and Valladolid, and returning by way of Burgos, Logrono, and 
Pamplona. If the neutrality of Switzerland had been oppres- 
sive, the neutrality of Spain was that of a country completely 
detached from the struggle and practically outside Europe. 
Germans were there in thousands — residents, refugees, mer- 
chants, and propagandists — all working to subordinate Spain 
to German ends and to turn the Iberian peninsula into a west- 
ern Turkey. The Spanish press was largely under German in- 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 117 

fluence and the omnipresent clergy were pro-German to a man. 
Yet the people were not only not hostile but, in most in- 
stances, positively friendly. The general results of our ob- 
servations Lord Northcliffe reprinted in his book “At the 
War ” of which the proceeds were given to the Red Cross. 
One small incident, not without significance, inasmuch as it 
suggested some of the agencies through which German inter- 
national propaganda was working, I may record. At a little 
town called Infiesta we halted for some hours while a local 
smith mended a spring of the car. Just before we started 
again I found Northcliffe surrounded by a group of gypsy 
women who were addressing him volubly in German. They 
had begun by seizing his hand and wishing to tell his fortune, 
but one of them quickly made some political remarks which 
indicated that she was connected in some way with the Ger- 
man organization. 

“ For goodness’ sake save me from these harpies,” North- 
cliffe cried as he saw me. “ They seem to think I’m German.” 

I spoke sharply to the women, one of whom replied in a 
German accent which I had only heard in Hungary. So I 
said to her, in Magyar, “ How did you get here from Hun- 
gary? ” 

“ I don’t know Hungarian,” she answered in correct Mag- 
yar, so great was her surprise at being addressed in what was 
probably one of her native tongues. Then reverting to Ger- 
man, she assured me that they were “ with us ” and would be 
glad to be of service. We only shook them off when the 
car started. 


THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME 

From Spain we turned northwards again and reached Sir 
Douglas Haig’s headquarters at Beauquesne on the morning 
of Saturday, September 9th. We knew that the second great 
offensive on the Somme would begin in a few days, and we 
were greeted by the news that, north of the Somme, the 
British had just captured Ginchy. It was my first experience 
of British Headquarters and of the British Commander-in- 



118 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


Chief. There was a businesslike air about the place and a 
quiet determination in Sir Douglas Haig’s manner that im- 
pressed all visitors, though I could not quite banish doubt 
whether all the members of his Headquarters staff were men- 
tally as alert as I had found some of the principal French offi- 
cers to be. This doubt grew as I listened to their conversation 
and learned that they held strongly to what was then known 
as the “ killing Germans ” theory. One distinguished officer 
explained to me the Clausewitz doctrine in all its purity. He 
insisted that, since the objective of an army in the field must 
be the strongest point of the enemy, and since the strongest 
point of the Germans was on the Western front opposite the 
British positions, the one thing that mattered was for the 
British to smash that strongest point. All other operations 
were “ side shows ” that involved dispersion and waste of 
military effort. Attempts to take British forces from the 
Western front in order to reinforce the position at Salonika 
or the Italian front were criminally heretical. When I asked 
what would happen should we fail to break through the Ger- 
man front in the West, and suggested that it might be im- 
portant to turn the German front by smashing Austria mili- 
tarily and politically, I was told that the Staff were confident 
of breaking through in the West, but that should this prove 
impossible, the war would of course end in a stalemate. In 
any case it would be fatal to mix up politics with strategy, 
and the idea of breaking up Austria was sheer politics. 

I had not before heard this doctrine so uncompromisingly 
preached, though Colonel Repington had often sought to con- 
vert me to it in The Times office. I felt that it was pedanti- 
cally wrong; and between my views and the views of the 
Staff officers who maintained it, there was really no common 
denominator. They spoke, as professionals, of a professional 
undertaking. I spoke of the whole war as one vast politico- 
military problem. To them it was a game to be won or lost 
according to the rules. To me it seemed a matter of life and 
death for free civilization, subject to one rule only — victory. 
Sir Douglas Haig took no part in the discussion, and North- 
cliffe sheltered himself behind a formula to which he was to 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 119 

cling until the battle of Cambrai fourteen months later — 
“ Trust the soldiers 1 ” 

The true answer to the Clausewitz pedants was given to me 
in November, 1917, by Mr. Lloyd George at the Hotel Crillon 
in Paris. Whether he had thought of it himself or whether it 
had been suggested to him I do not know; but, in any case, 
he was shrewd enough to recognize its force. In October, 1917, 
an Au8tro-German offensive had broken through the Italian 
front at Caporetto and, despite opposition from General Sir 
William Robertson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Mr. 
Lloyd George had decided to send reinforcements to the 
Italian front. The main considerations were that the Italian 
front had been smashed and was in danger of collapsing en- 
tirely, and that, if it collapsed, a portion of the French Army 
would have to be detached from the Western front to hold 
the Southeastern frontier of France. The British Army had 
been engaged for months in an offensive towards Passchendaele 
in Flanders and had gained some ground at terrible cost. 
When I saw Mr. Lloyd George early in December, 1917, he 
said, “ Sir Douglas Haig has just left me. He has declared 
that he cannot spare another division for the Italian front and 
has assured me that he will soon take Passchendaele. He 
has quoted Clausewitz to me and I have answered, ‘ You sol- 
diers take a village in Flanders, and Serbia goes smash. You 
take another village in Flanders, and Rumania goes smash. 
Next week you may take Passchendaele, and Italy will go 
smash.’ I know all about Clausewitz. What he says may be 
all right in a war of movement; but this war is a siege. Clause- 
witz has also a chapter upon sieges. In it he says that the 
thing to do in a siege is to strike at the weakest point of 
the enemy defences, not the strongest point, as in a war of 
movement. That is what we ought to do, even in the name 
of Clausewitz. And that is what we are going to do.” 

But, in September, 1916, this situation had not yet arisen. 
British artillery was preparing the ground for the great at- 
tack which was to come on the 15th. So continuous was the 
bombardment that, after a few hours, the noise of it seemed 
normal. When a heavy mist fell in the early morning of 



120 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


September 10th and the bombardment suddenly ceased, 1 
awoke with a start. Afterwards I found that the sudden si- 
lence had wakened others also. That afternoon and next day 
Northcliffe and I visited the front and saw our gunners at 
work putting a heavy barrage over Ginchy to prevent a Ger- 
man counter-attack. They had been at it without a break 
for ten hours, relieving, by turns, a few gunners who found 
recreation in kicking a football about amid the old shell holes. 
The desolation of war was even more marked here than on 
the portions of the French front which we had visited; but 
there was a spirit in the men that breathed complete confi- 
dence. 

Though desperately busy, as a Commander-in-Chief must 
always be on the eve of a great offensive, Sir Douglas Haig 
was no less confident than his men. He worked steadily, 
without stress or hurry, and found time to attend Divine 
Service in a little corrugated iron church which had been put 
up near Headquarters. That service, within a few days of 
a big battle, was one of the most impressive I can remember; 
and its impressiveness was enhanced rather than diminished 
by what, in other surroundings, would have been an amusing 
incident. The officiating Padre had given out a hymn which 
nobody knew. The soldier at the harmonium did his best 
but the singing was not hearty. At the end of the first verse 
the Padre interrupted, saying, “ We'll try another," and gave 
out “ The Rock of Ages." That everybody knew, and it was 
sung with intense devotion. Two other incidents of that day 
and the next are graven in my memory. Out towards the front, 
our car halted while some companies of a famous regiment 
moved up to take over the positions allotted to them in the 
impending offensive. The sight of these strong, lean men 
with their heavy packs and helmets, marching grimly on 
what many of them doubtless knew would be their last march, 
was at once tragic and sublime. I think all of us who saw it 
felt ashamed that we were not also marching in that column. 
Later on, I read an account of a visit to the front by E. W. 
Homung, in which he put his own feelings, on seeing a regi- 



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 121 

ment go up to the front, into lines that expressed exactly what 
had then been in my mind — 

And I felt like a man in a prison van, 

While the rest of the world goes free. 

It was, albeit more poignantly, the feeling of which North- 
cliffe and I had been conscious when we came out of neutral 
Switzerland into France. It had then prompted me to add 
the following conclusion to Northcliffe’s despatch on Switzer- 
land: 

The departure of our youth for camp and battlefield is part, a 
large part, of the price we are paying for our freedom; but it is 
a singular fact that, despite the presence of young men [in Switzer- 
land] the atmosphere of neutrality is depressing. ... In these 
great days the breath of war is the breath of life, and the spirit of 
sacrifice is the spirit of regeneration. 

But not until I saw that British regiment go up towards the 
front had I really ached to be in the fighting line or felt the 
bitterness of not being there. 

A HARD QUESTION 

Next evening, after dinner at Headquarters, a Staff officer 
in charge of munitions put to me one of the hardest questions 
I have ever had to answer. In The Times of that morning, 
my colleague, the late Mr. J. E. Mackenzie, had reproduced 
in his column “ Through German Eyes ” a paragraph from 
a German newspaper which alluded to the deadly effect of 
the British curtain fire over Ginchy. “ Can you get me any 
confirmation of that? ” asked the officer with his finger on 
the paragraph. “ If that is true I must order another 100,000 
of those shells at once. They contain pretty powerful gas, 
and the filling of them may cost the lives, or at least the 
health, of a score or two of the women who fill them. Yet, 
if I were sure that the shells we have put over Ginchy did 
such execution, I would not hesitate.” 

I asked permission to use the Staff telephone to London 
and enquired of Mr. Mackenzie whether in the German papers 
received that day there were any confirmation of the para- 



122 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


graph. He hunted diligently but could find none, for the 
German censorship had again become very severe. I told 
the Staff officer that the search had been fruitless, but added, 
“ If I were you I should order those shells. If you could put 
it to the women, I believe they would rush to volunteer for 
the work of filling them, especially if they thought that by 
risking their own lives or health they could give the men 
at the front a better chance.” The officer nodded. I think 
the order went that night. 

Before leaving the front, Northcliffe and I went to see Gen- 
eral Sir Julian Byng at Canadian Headquarters where we 
spent some stimulating hours; and ended by inspecting some- 
thing called “tanks,” which Sir Douglas Haig had strongly 
recommended us to see. He had given us no hint of what 
the tanks might be; and we imagined they were new recepta- 
cles for oil or water, or some special device for the supply 
of the army. Nor did Sir Julian Byng enlighten me. When 
I told him of our errand he merely smiled a weird smile and 
left us the full effect of the surprise. At the sight of the 
rumbling caterpillar leviathans detraining from special rail- 
way trucks on to rolling ground behind the front, our first 
impulse was to laugh immoderately. There were “ male ” 
tanks and “ female ” tanks, the former armed with four- 
pounder quick-firers and the latter with machine guns. North- 
cliffe tried to enter one of them by the manhole on the top; 
but as his girth was some inches larger than the hole, he stuck 
midway and had to be hauled down to the inside by the feet 
while I sat on his shoulders above. Getting him out again was 
an even harder matter, though presently he emerged minus 
some buttons. This was a “ male ” tank of which the officer 
in command was extremely proud. He spoke with scorn of a 
neighbouring “ female ” tank called “ Creme de Menthe ” and 
predicted that her puny machine guns would be no good. 
When, however, the results of the first day's offensive were 
announced on September 16 th, it appeared that “ Creme de 
Menthe ” had helped to capture the village of Flers and had 
rounded up a goodly number of German prisoners. What be- 
fell her “ male ” companion we never knew. 



CHAPTER XIV 


THE DARKEST HOUR 
1916-1917 

T HE period between October 1916 and the end of 1917 
was the true testing time for the Allied peoples. Had 
their spirit not been higher than that of their governments, 
the war could never have been won. The outlook in the East 
was profoundly discouraging. Disaster which the Allied forces 
at Salonika were powerless to avert had followed the Ru- 
manian espousal of the Allied cause. In Russia premonitory 
signs of revolution were apparent. In the West, despite the 
use of tanks, the second battle of the Somme proved indecisive. 
On the Italian front progress was slow. The German sub- 
marine campaign inflicted increasingly heavy losses upon 
British and Allied shipping, while German air raids upon Eng- 
land became more frequent and resolute. Equally determined 
and even more efficient was the enemy attack upon the “ home 
front” in Allied countries where sedulous pro-German and 
pacifist propaganda made headway. 

The winter of 1916-17 was verily a winter of discontent, 
bitterly cold and long and void of encouragement. Strange 
though it may now appear, the Russian revolution in March, 
1917, was hailed as signifying a more vigorous prosecution of 
the war by Russia and the elimination of German influences 
from the councils of the Tsar. The infernal efficacy of the 
German plan to send Lenin back to Russia for the purpose 
of demoralizing the Revolution was not perceived. Greater 
cause for thankfulness lay in the American declaration of war 
in April, though doubt long persisted among the European 
Allies whether the United States would be able to give effec- 
tive military help in time. As the year wore on, the French 
spring offensive was seen to have collapsed and the British 

123 



124 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


offensive in Flanders proved to be costly out of all proportion 
to its apparent success. Moreover, before Passchendaele, its 
objective, could be reached, the Italian front gave way at 
Caporetto. Upon this sombre outlook one ray of light was 
shed in November, 1917, by the battle of Cambrai in which 
massed tanks broke clean through the German lines. So 
great was relief in England at this success that the Govern- 
ment forgot the reserve which had been maintained through- 
out the war and caused bells to be rung in sign of rejoicing — 
but the ringing was promptly checked by a vigorous German 
counter-stroke. Thereafter the gloom grew gloomier still. 

Yet those fifteen months served to winnow the chaff from 
the wheat, to separate the fearful from the stout-hearted. 
They showed that the ready-to-halt were a small minority, 
albeit a minority not without influence. To the military 
struggle a moral and political struggle was thus added; and 
it became obvious that the war would have to be won in the 
hearts and minds of the Allied peoples before it could be won 
on the battlefield. 


“ THE NEW EUROPE ” 

As early as October, 1916, some of my friends had realized 
the necessity of providing a medium for the education of public 
opinion more apt, better informed, and clearer of vision than 
the daily press. Therefore, after ineffectual attempts to per- 
suade The Times to undertake the work, Professor Masaryk, 
Dr. Seton-Watson, the late Dr. Ronald Burrows (Principal 
of King’s College) , Mr. (now Sir) A. F. Whyte and I, decided 
to found a weekly journal called the New Europe. Masaryk 
and Seton-Watson were the prime movers in the scheme. 
Seton-Watson bore practically the whole cost and, until “ mo- 
bilized,” did most of the work. The first number, published 
on October 19, 1916, declared: 

Its foremost aim is to further and consolidate that Entente 
Cordiale of Allied publicists which must accompany the wider 
political entente if the Allies are to think and act in harmony, and 
to help towards the formation of a sane and well-informed body of 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


125 


public opinion upon all subjects affecting the future of Europe. Its 
highest ambition will be to provide a rallying ground for all those 
who see in European reconstruction, on a basis of nationality, the 
rights of minorities and the hard facts of geography and economics, 
the sole guarantee against an early repetition of the horrors of the 
present war. 

It will be our endeavour to unmask the great designs of German 
war policy, to provide the historical, racial, and strategic back- 
ground of problems too long neglected in our comfortable island, and 
to emphasize the need for a carefully thought-out counter-plan, 
as an essential condition to Allied victory. After our armies have 
won the war, our statesmen will have to win the peace, and their 
task will, indeed, be difficult unless public opinion is alert, organized, 
and eager to support them in a clearly defined and enlightened 
policy. 

To the first number of the New Europe Professor Masaryk 
contributed an article defining the objects of German war 
policy. He revealed the meaning of the attempt to organize 
11 Central Europe ” under German hegemony, by means of eco- 
nomic and political union between Germany and Austria- 
Hungary into which the Balkans and Turkey were to be 
drawn, while the Baltic provinces of Russia as well as Po- 
land, Holland and Belgium, Switzerland and Scandinavia were 
presently to be associated with it. Germany’s ultimate ob- 
ject was to become a great Asiatic power by solving the old 
Eastern Question in her own interest. Masaryk traced histori- 
cally the development of pan-Germanism, showed that the 
maintenance of Austria-Hungary was essential to the German 
scheme and concluded that 

the German plan, as expounded during the war, has steadily pro- 
gressed in the direction indicated. The weakening of Russia and 
the Slavs must be the first step, but the final stage is to be the 
overthrow of Britain. 


THE SBBBIAN SOCIETY OP GREAT BRITAIN 

Since we were all convinced that the overthrow of Austria- 
Hungary and the liberation of the subject Hapsburg peoples 
were necessary to defeat the pan-German plan, we deter- 



126 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

mined not to limit our work to written propaganda. There- 
fore, simultaneously with the founding of the New Europe we 
formed a society called “ The Serbian Society of Great Brit- 
ain ” with the objects of promoting Southern Slav union and of 
preparing the way for an agreement between the Southern 
Slavs and Italy that might neutralize the evil effects of the 
Treaty of London. Membership of this society was restricted 
to British subjects. The late Lord Cromer accepted the Chair- 
manship; and a number of prominent public men, including 
Sir Edward Carson, the Ulster leader, Mr. Ronald McNeill, 
Lord Treowen and Mr. H. M. Hyndman, the veteran Marxian 
Socialist, joined it. Its inaugural meeting was convened at 
the Mansion House on October 24th by the Lord Mayor of 
London when Lord Cromer defined its aims with great 
cogency. 

The Germans [he said] aim at nothing less than world dominion, 
and especially at establishing a huge Empire to reach from the 
Persian Gulf to the Baltic. We think it is in the interests of the 
whole of Europe to offer the strongest possible resistance to the 
execution of this monstrous project. . . . One of the best 
guarantees [against it] is to establish a solid block composed of 
people of non-Teu tonic race, who will act as a formidable and 
insuperable barrier to Teutonic aggression in the future. The 
Southern Slavs are well adapted to form this barrier. The main 
object of the Serbian Society, then, is to encourage the creation of 
a Southern Slav State. ... I want, on its behalf, to give a 
most positive and emphatic denial of the idea that we are animated 
in any degree by hostility towards Italy and the Italians. . . . 

We think that Italy has an interest in forming that great Southern 
Slav barrier, and that her interests and Slav interests are really 
identical. . . . We should welcome any occasion in which we 
might be of use in smoothing over difficulties and bringing our two 
friends, the Slavs and the Italians, together. 

Speaking in support of Lord Cromer, I added: 

A thorough solution of the Southern Slav question requires not 
only political union between Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, but their 
eventual fusion into one united people. It is not a question of 
allotting to Serbia provinces inhabited by other branches of her 
race and tongue, nor of handing over this district or that to her as 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


127 


“ compensation.” Nothing can “ compensate ” heroism so magnifi- 
cent and sufferings so terrible as those of Serbia save the unification 
of the Southern Slav race. It is a question of giving practical ap- 
plication, in favour of the Southern Slav race as a whole, to the 
principle of nationality and the principle of equality of political 
and religious rights, and of securing for Serbia that seaboard of 
which her enemies have hitherto deprived her. It is, further, a 
question — and a vital question — of conciliating imperative re- 
quirements of Italian national security with the requirements of 
Southern Slav unity. Speaking personally, I may say that I have 
long been profoundly convinced that, without Southern Slav unity, 
formed in agreement with, and with the help of Italy, Italian 
national security cannot be obtained; while, without comprehension 
on the part of Italy of her own interest in making sure that no 
important section of the Southern Slav race shall be left unredeemed, 
Southern Slav unity will be hard to attain. 

Despite Lord Cromer’s assurance, Sonnino, the Italian For- 
eign Minister, took serious alarm at the formation of the 
Serbian Society. The Italian Ambassador in London was in- 
structed to ask Sir Edward Grey to persuade Lord Cromer to 
relinquish the chairmanship. Sir Edward Grey declined; but, 
on hearing of this manoeuvre, Lord Cromer asked me to ac- 
company him on a visit to the Italian Ambassador, the Mar- 
quis Imperiali. I have rarely been present at a more singular 
interview. When Lord Cromer repeated the assurances he 
had given at the Mansion House, the Ambassador, much flus- 
tered, said: 

“ My lips are sealed. I can say nothing. I can only sug- 
gest an hypothesis. Should there be — I do not say that there 
is, I am only discussing an hypothesis — an engagement, an 
undertaking or even a written document of which the tenor 
were incompatible with the realization of the aims of your 
Society, would it not be an unfriendly act on the part of your 
Lordship to undertake or countenance anything that might 
appear to be directed against the implications of such a docu- 
ment which, of course, may not exist, inasmuch as I am only 
mentioning it hypothetically, for I am a diplomatist and, 
as I have remarked, my lips are sealed.’ 

“ You mean the Treaty of London,” answered Lord Cromer. 
“ We know all abo,ut that. It is a very deplorable document.” 



128 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


“ I would beg your Excellency to observe,” continued the 
Marquis Imperiali, “ that I have not mentioned or admitted 
the existence of any Treaty. As I have remarked, my lips 
are sealed, for I am a diplomatist and am bound to be discreet. 
But, on the hypothesis that a treaty may exist, are not treaties 
sacred, and ought any one of your Lordship’s high standing 
to give countenance to any suggestions that a treaty ought to 
be revised? ” 

“ My dear Ambassador,” broke in Lord Cromer, “ I am an 
old diplomatist, much older than you, and I have seen so many 
governments put their names to so many foolish and damnable 
instruments that when I see a chance of persuading an Allied 
Government to correct a fatal mistake before it is too late, I 
think it is right to take that chance.” 

“ I cannot listen, I cannot listen! ” exclaimed the Ambassador 
excitedly; “ but please observe that I have not admitted the 
existence of any treaty, for my lips are sealed. I have merely 
examined an hypothesis and ” 

“ That is quite enough, my dear Ambassador,” said Lord 
Cromer. “ I came here to tell you that the work of the Serbian 
Society is not directed against Italy. I have told you. Good 
morning.” 

Lord Cromer’s comments upon the Ambassador’s behaviour 
as we left the Embassy were, and are, unfit for publication. 
The effect of the interview was to strengthen Lord Cromer’s 
conviction that the Serbian Society was right; and he sup- 
ported us vigorously to the day of his death. 

a hornets’ nest 

When we founded the New Europe and the Serbian Society, 
we hardly realized what a hornets’ nest we were about to stir 
up or how viciously the hornets would buzz and sting through- 
out the remainder of the war and during the Peace Conference. 
We had touched pro-Germanism, active and latent, conscious 
and unconscious, at its most sensitive point; and we were few 
against many. Among the available civilians in England, 
Seton-Watson and I alone had enough first-hand knowledge 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


129 


of the Hapsburg Monarchy effectively to explain the im- 
portance of the Austrian question. Others, like Sir Arthur 
Evans, Dr. Ronald Burrows, Mr. Hyndman, and Lord 
Treowen, shared our views as a result of their special experi- 
ence or general knowledge; but Seton-Watson and I had been 
in the fray for more than ten years and we possessed the 
friendship and confidence of the principal leaders of the sub- 
ject Hapsburg races. With Masaryk, who lived at Hamp- 
stead during 1916 and until the Russian revolution of March, 
1917, we were in constant touch; and the secret information 
which he received from Austria through the Intelligence 
Service organized by Dr. Benes (whose headquarters were in 
Paris) was always at our disposal. Supilo and the Southern 
Slav Committee which he and his fellow countrymen had 
formed with the support of the Southern Slavs in North and 
especially in South America, also cooperated with us actively. 
But neither the Czechoslovaks nor the Southern Slavs could 
seriously appeal to British public opinion. Their appeals were 
inevitably regarded as special pleading, whereas we could 
speak to our own people in the name of their own interests. 
Apart from Italian official hostility, we soon found that the 
forces opposed to us were mainly of three kinds: 

(1) International finance which was interested in maintain- 
ing the German-Jewish financial system that formed the 
economic framework of pan-Germanism; 

(2) Militant Roman Catholicism which was opposed to the 
destruction of the largest remaining Roman Catholic polity 
in Europe; 

(3) The snobbishness of British “ society ” which looked 
upon “ Austrians ” as “ nice people ” because their country 
houses were well kept, their shooting was excellent, and their 
urbanity superior to that of the Germans. 

In combination, these forces were potent. They worked 
chiefly through secret channels. A first hint of their power 
was given when Seton-Watson, who was unfit for military 
service, found himself suddenly mobilized as a private in the 
Royal Army Medical Corps and sent to do menial sanitary 
work in Lancashire. By this means it was apparently hoped 



130 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

to gag one of the two men who knew most about an important 
enemy country. Naturally, the rest of us fought against so 
malicious a piece of stupidity and left no stone unturned to 
have Seton-Watson released; but it took two successive de- 
cisions of the War Cabinet to free him, the first decision being 
successfully evaded by War Office officials who were under 
pro-Austrian, or mistakenly pro-Italian, influences. Even 
after his release he was forbidden to write, and was seconded 
for political duty in a Department of Political Information 
organized by General Lord Gleichen. So strong were the pro- 
Austrian currents in England that even Sonnino, who visited 
London in July, 1917, became alarmed and asked me to ex- 
plain their origin. He felt dimly that propaganda in England 
for the preservation of Austria might be as damaging to his 
cherished Treaty of London as our propaganda for the libera- 
tion of the subject Hapsburg peoples; for his conception of 
victory contemplated the maintenance only of an enfeebled 
Austria-Hungary at whose expense Italy should have obtained 
the territories which her military and naval staffs thought 
needful to her security. 

One advantage our opponents could not take from us. 
Though we were few, we knew what we wanted, we had a 
definite programme for the reconstruction of Europe, we were 
well-informed and were ready to take risks. While the 
partisans of Austria — and, indirectly, of Germany — took 
refuge in negation and intrigue, we went ahead in the con- 
viction that there could be no victory without so radical a 
transformation of Austria-Hungary as practically to make 
an end of the Hapsburg Monarchy, and that, in this trans- 
formation, the Czechoslovaks and the Yugoslavs must be the 
two chief factors. We recognized the substantial truth of 
Supilo’s formula, “ If our question goes well, all will go well; 
if it goes ill, all will go ill.” We met every Saturday at my 
house, and elsewhere during the week. My room at The Times 
office became a point of pilgrimage for “ alien friends ” in 
London. On entering it my colleagues would sometimes look 
under the table to see if no “ Czechoslavs ” or “ Yugoslovaks ” 
were hidden there. I was supposed to have Czechoslovakia 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


131 


and Yugoslavia on the brain. We also maintained close rela- 
tions with friends in Paris and in Italy who were working 
for the same objects as ourselves; and we did our utmost, little 
by little, to educate unprejudiced public men and Foreign 
Office officials to a sense of the true meaning of the Austrian 
question. 


THE LLOYD GEORGE CABINET 

Meanwhile, the Asquith Coalition Cabinet had been over- 
thrown in December, 1916, by the resignation of Mr. Lloyd 
George who, after organizing the Ministry of Munitions, had 
become Secretary of State for War. The point at issue between 
him and Mr. Asquith was the necessity of forming a small 
War Cabinet whose members would meet daily and devote 
themselves exclusively to the prosecution of the war, leaving 
the work of administration to be done by ministers outside the 
Cabinet. Mr. Lloyd George suggested at first that he should 
take charge of this War Cabinet under the Premiership of 
Mr. Asquith who unfortunately, though not unnaturally, re- 
fused. Again and again Lloyd George threatened to resign 
but always flinched at the last moment. In the words of one 
of his friends, “ he galloped gallantly towards the fence but, 
on reaching it, drew rein and looked round for a gate.” At 
last, Lord Northcliffe’s personal influence with him and the 
prospect of support from the Northcliffe newspapers helped 
him to make up his mind. He resigned, and the whole Govern- 
ment fell. On Mr. Asquith’s resignation the King sent for 
Mr. Bonar Law who declined to form a Government and 
recommended Lloyd George. Even then Mr. Asquith might 
have consented to serve in a new Government had not his 
friends, and particularly Mr. Reginald McKenna, dissuaded 
him. None of them believed the Lloyd George administration 
could last long. Mr. Lloyd George, Lord Curzon, Lord Milner, 
and Mr. Arthur Henderson of the Labour Party were the first 
members of the War Cabinet, Mr. Bonar Law becoming leader 
of the House of Commons, Lord Balfour, Foreign Secretary, 
Lord Derby, Secretary for War, and Sir Edward Carson, First 
Lord of the Admiralty. 



132 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

In point of fact, the British Cabinet crisis was merely a 
part of a general crisis in Allied countries. The French press 
was insistently demanding drastic military changes; and the 
Chamber sat more and more frequently in secret session. In 
Russia an unprecedented scene occurred in the Duma when 
the Ministers of War and Marine ostentatiously shook hands 
with an Opposition leader who had violently criticized the 
Government, the Emperor, and especially the Empress. In 
Italy, alarm and dissatisfaction with the conduct of the war 
against Austria were being vigorously expressed. In these 
circumstances the advent of Mr. Lloyd George to power in 
England seemed to justify hope that in London, at least, the 
war would be more clearly conceived and more energetically 
prosecuted. In regard to him the New Europe wrote on 
December 18, 1916: 

We have longed for a man who should be utterly a Man of War, 
because war is unhappily now our supreme business — not necessarily 
a soldier, still less a politician, but a man whose mind should be 
entirely given to the work in hand, caring for nothing else, thinking 
of nothing else, and staking his whole being on the achievement of 
his task. Have we found such a man? We do not yet know. We 
only know that Mr. Lloyd George has made mistakes in the past, 
that he has not always spoken or acted wisely, that he has seemed 
at times to be demagogue rather than statesman, but that there 
has nevertheless been in him, throughout the phases of his career 
up to the beginning of the war, a certain sweep and range of vision, 
a squareness of mind, a power of rising to occasions, a readiness 
to face awkward facts, that distinguished him from and placed him 
potentially above his contemporaries. . . . Above all he has 
faith and fire. Faith goes to faith. The country has had from the 
outset greater faith in itself and in the Allied cause than many of 
its responsible leaders have shown; and it has certainly not had 
many opportunities of indulging its faith in leadership. It has 
responded to Mr. Lloyd George because, almost for the first time 
during the war, its ear was caught by an appeal corresponding to 
its own intensity of feeling. 

Until a few weeks before the Armistice of November, 1918, 
Mr. Lloyd George justified the confidence placed in him. Even 
when his colleagues were losing heart and giving ear to counsels 
of despair, he remained hopeful and buoyant. If some of his 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


133 


political and diplomatic expedients were dubious, his main 
purpose was sound. After his overthrow in October, 1922, 
Mr. Bonar Law, who succeeded him as Prime Minister, told 
me that only once during the war had he seen Lloyd George 
discouraged. That was on the morning of March 21, 1918, 
when news came that the Germans had broken through the 
British line in France. But, even then, despondency was 
transient and by the afternoon his old determination had 
returned. Other prominent ministers, whose names were re- 
garded by the public as synonyms of stern resolve, bent and 
broke inwardly under the strain. The outstanding merit of 
Mr. Lloyd George was his perception that, for him and for 
Great Britain, there could be no evasion of the issue, that there 
waB no way out or round or under, but only a way through 
— to victory. Though this perception sometimes became 
obscured, it guided him in the main. His great demerit was 
that, when the war had been won, he allowed his old skill as 
a parliamentary tactician to get the better of his finer qualities, 
and to beguile him into treating the Allied and Associated 
governments like so many pieces in a game, to be played 
against each other and manoeuvred in accordance with his own 
political or personal predilections. Lloyd George as a Man of 
War was, on the whole, singleminded and valiant. Lloyd 
George as a Man of Peace was neither. 

CAILLAUX 

In December, 1916, it was essential that a man with “ drive,” 
insight, and imagination should be placed in supreme charge of 
affairs. It is improbable that any other British Minister could 
have broken through the ring of subtle and clandestine in- 
fluences that were working to preclude an Allied victory. In 
England those influences had not yet found a focus, as they 
found it in December, 1917, when Lord Lansdowne was per- 
suaded to publish what was, in effect, a plea for an inconclusive 
peace; but in France they centred round the name and person 
of M. Caillaux. The publication in The Times of an account 
of M. Caillaux’s doings in Italy exposed me to some curious 



134 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


manifestations of hostility when, in January, 1917, 1 went once 
more to lecture in Paris, and at Marseilles and Montpellier, on 
the British war effort. In the latter two cities I was threatened 
with violence by M. Caillaux’s partisans unless I would retract 
publicly the information which The Times had published. I 
did not retract and the threats proved vain. In Paris I was 
publicly denounced on January 26, 1917, by a news sheet issued 
under the control of one of M. Caillaux’s partisans, the 
notorious “ Almeyreda ”-Vigo. The denunciation referred, in 
remarkable detail, to my work as correspondent of The Times 
in Vienna, animadverted upon my opposition to the policy of 
Count Aehrenthal, and ended with the following singular 
outburst: 

This war has hit everybody. One man alone comes out of it un- 
touched and aggrandized. When the history of its origins, so fertile 
in underlying causes, comes to be written, the part really played by 
the publicist Steed will gain by being shown up. 

In truth, I deserve “ni cet exces d’honneur, m cette indi- 
grritS.” My only merit, or fault, was that in Austria I dis- 
cerned the natures of the forces which were making for war, 
that I did my utmost to oppose them, and that, when war 
actually came, I strove to explain why it had come and how 
its authors could be defeated. In doing this I knew that I 
was incurring the hostility of international finance and of its 
clandestine associates. I knew also that part of the strength 
of the pan-Gennan plot lay in the belief of Jewish financiers 
and industrialists that, when German rule should have been 
established from Hamburg to Baghdad, they would profit 
largely as its economic organizers and agents. But I had not 
expected to find so ingenuous an outburst of this hostility 
during the war in a Paris news sheet issued by “ Almeyreda 
Vigo and Landau, two of M. Caillaux’s Jewish partisans, in 
France. Yet a curious incident that had happened when I 
had gone to lecture at Lyons in March, 1916, might have 
warned me that my peccadillos were not forgotten. The editor 
of an important Lyons newspaper published an article upon 
my lecture, and was promptly called to account by the direc- 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


135 


tors of a large Lyons Bank, who were interested in the news- 
paper, for having referred approvingly to “ a man who had 
once thwarted a French loan.” The editor was strictly warned 
never to publish my name again. The reference was of course 
to the loan of £40,000,000 which Aehrenthal had attempted to 
secure from France in 1911 on the pretext that it would enable 
him to detach Austria-Hungary from Germany 1 

PRO-GERMAN PROPAGANDA 

Of my lecturing tour in January, 1917, I have vivid mem- 
ories. Pacifist and pro-German propaganda had gained much 
ground in the south of France. It took the form of sneering 
references to England and of insinuations that, since England 
was determined to get the lion’s share of the booty while 
France bore all the losses and did all the fighting, it would be 
far better for France to come to terms with Germany and 
Austria-Hungary, and to leave Germany to settle accounts 
with England. Advantageous peace terms, it was whispered, 
could be got at once. France would merely have to insist that 
all the German Colonies which England had seized should be 
returned to Germany. 

French ignorance of the constitution of the British Empire 
rendered this kind of propaganda peculiarly dangerous. To 
French minds the word “ Empire ” connotes domination or, at 
least, control as effective as that which France exercises in 
Tunis, Morocco, or Indo-China. They could not see why 
England should not order the Dominions to do her bidding in 
regard to the German Colonies which the Dominions had con- 
quered or were helping to conquer; and they were half in- 
clined to think that reluctance on England’s part would be 
evidence of her predatory designs. 

The only means of countering this propaganda was to ex- 
plain the nature of the British “ Empire,” to show that it is 
an association of free nations and to insist that the war con- 
tribution of each Dominion in men and in money had been as 
voluntary as that of Great Britain. This I did at Marseilles 
and Montpellier. After some account of the efforts success- 



136 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


fully made to organize the British armies, to supply them 
adequately with guns and munitions, and to show that British 
losses in the field had not been greatly inferior, while British 
financial sacrifices had been equal to those of France, I 
sketched the main lines of a lasting peace and its bearing upon 
the British " Commonwealth,” and concluded: 

It is of the highest importance that you in France should under- 
stand the real nature of our so called “Imperial” problem. You may 
think that the internal organization of the British Commonwealth 
is no concern of yours. If so, you are wrong. You are aware of the 
subtle manoeuvres of Germany and of her agents in all countries 
to make us accept a German peace in one form or another. You 
know also of her efforts to separate the Allies and to sow reciprocal 
distrust among them. Let me tell you one of the most dangerous 
manoeuvres Germany could undertake. Suppose she should say to 
France “We have had enough of it, we cannot go on. You also 
have suffered. Let us make peace. We will satisfy all your reason- 
able claims in Europe, and you would only have to tell the British to 
give back the colonies they have taken from us, especially in German 
Southwest and German East Africa, New Guinea, Samoa, and the 
smaller Pacific islands. We only want this” ? Do you see the trap? 
England could not, even if she would, give orders to the British 
Dominions. Why did the South Africans, including the Boers, drive 
the Germans from Southwest Africa? Because the Germans threat- 
ened their freedom and their security. Do you think that the South 
Africans are going to give up Southwest Africa? Certainly not; and 
even if we wished them to do so, which we do not, we could not 
oblige them to give it up. The same applies to New Guinea and to 
Samoa. 

So new did this reasoning seem at Marseilles that I was 
asked to repeat it from the steps of the Prefecture to a large 
crowd; but the bitter cold made this impossible. At Mont- 
pellier, I had an amusing experience. A few minutes before 
the lecture, the Rector of the University, a prominent Protest- 
ant Freemason, warned me that half the audience would con- 
sist of Clerical Royalists and the other half of Protestant 
Freemasons. “ Try to speak so as not to offend anybody,” 
he added appealingly. 

The only way not to offend anybody, in such circumstances, 
was to be so frank with everybody as to create, at least, an 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


137 


equilibrium of discontent. By good fortune all seemed to be 
pleased. In the first row sat the veteran Senior of the French 
Roman Catholic hierarchy, Cardinal de Cabriferes, an Orlean- 
ist Royalist, then in his eighty-fifth year. At the end of the 
lecture he rose and signed to the Rector of the University, 
who was in the chair, that he wished to speak. But the Rec- 
tor, horrified at the idea that a Cardinal should speak at the 
University, turned a blind eye on him and brought the pro- 
ceedings to an end. Not to be outdone, the Cardinal moved 
with stately step towards the door, paused, and sent back his 
secretary to invite the Rector and me to luncheon at the 
Archiepiscopal Palace next day. So courteous an invitation 
could not* be refused. When we reached the Palace, we were 
shown into the great hall, where the Cardinal spoke thus: 

“ Yesterday I wished to say, Monsieur le Recteur, how en- 
tirely I agreed with the views of the lecturer, and to thank 
him publicly for having illumined our ignorance with so many 
enlightening truths; but since I had not the good fortune, 
as they say in English, ‘ to catch the Speaker’s eye/ I wish 
now to make to you and to him the speech I should then have 
made ” — and he proceeded to deliver a little allocution which, 
for elegance of phrase and elevation of feeling, was one of the 
most perfect utterances of the kind I have ever heard. 

As a result of the fierce cold in the south of France, where 
I found even the salt marshes near Aigues Mortes frozen inches 
thick, I was laid up with bronchitis. The discomfort of travel- 
ling and lecturing in a fuelless country, where all arrange- 
ments are made for warmth and none for cold, has to be felt 
to be realized. Even in the Grand Hotel at Avignon, branches 
had to be sawn off a plane tree in the courtyard before a 
modest fire could be made. In Paris, things were little better. 
No coal was to be had. People lunched and dined in thick 
wraps or fur coats. When I procured a little coke to warm 
my room in the hotel, the attraction of the warmth was so 
great that I had as many as a dozen visitors simultaneously. 
Of food, however, there was plenty. While, in England, 
rationing was strict and people suffered hunger, Paris always 



138 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


seemed to have enough to eat. Since France is more nearly 
self-supporting than other European countries, her Govern- 
ment could allow inroads to be made into the national re- 
serves of food without running the risks to which a similar 
policy would have exposed Great Britain. On the other hand, 
France suffered more acutely than England from lack of fuel. 

THE AUSTRIAN MIRAGE 

While in Paris I was asked to address confidentially the 
French National Committee for Social and Political Studies, 
the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, 
the Foreign Affairs Committee of Writers, the Senate Com- 
mittee for Parliamentary Action, and a group of the leading 
French industrialists. In addition I had long conversations 
with M. Briand, the Prime Minister, M. Albert Thomas, Min- 
ister of Munitions, M. de Broqueville, the Belgian Prime 
Minister, and many other prominent politicians and diplomat- 
ists. The structure of the British Empire and the possibility of 
a separate peace with Austria were the chief topics of French 
interest. In all quarters I found apprehension lest the re- 
organization of the British Empire after the war should hamper 
French trade and impede the recovery of France from economic 
exhaustion. French and Belgian statesmen advocated a 
permanent political and economic alliance between France, 
Belgium, and Great Britain. M. Jules Cambon, the former 
French Ambassador to Berlin, who was then especially influ- 
ential at the French Foreign Office, earnestly advocated this 
alliance to which, he was convinced, Italy and Spain would 
also adhere. In regard to Austria, M. Briand and the War 
Minister, General Lyautey, felt sure that “ something might 
be done.” They had heard of friction between the young 
Emperor Charles and the German Emperor after the death of 
the Emperor Francis Joseph, and they assured me that so 
violent a scene had occurred between the two Monarchs when 
the Emperor William went to Vienna to attend the funeral that 
he had left again before it took place. The Emperor Charles 
had demanded that the Austro-Hungarian armies should be 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


139 


placed under his own direct control, and had met with a flat 
refusal from the German Emperor and from Marshal von 
Hindenburg. But neither M. Briand nor any other believer 
in the possibility of “ detaching ” Austria could explain how 
the thing was to be done, seeing that the Austro-Hungarian 
Army and the whole organization of the Hapsburg Monarchy 
were firmly held in the German grip. My contention was that, 
however plausible the talk of “ federalizing ” Austria-Hungary, 
as a means of withdrawing her from the control of Germany, 
might sound in theory, it would prove impossible in practice. 
Even though the Austrian Germans might assent to it, the 
Magyars would resist furiously any attempt to reduce them to 
equality with the other Hapsburg races. The alliance between 
Germany and Austria-Hungary, I urged, was between Berlin 
and Budapest even more than between Berlin and Vienna ; and 
that, unless this alliance could be broken, Austrian overtures 
for a separate peace would be merely a trap for the Western 
Powers. 

On returning to London I found the ostensibly pro-Austrian 
forces hard at work; and, as soon as my health allowed, I 
exposed in The Times the objects of their campaign. I pointed 
out that it had begun after a meeting between a number of 
French bankers, of the international persuasion, with Austrian 
bankers in Switzerland; that shortly afterwards two German- 
Jewish papers, the Berliner Tageblatt and the Vossische 
Zeitung, had proclaimed the “ federalization of Austria ” to 
be a German interest on the ground that a federalized Austria 
would remain a faithful ally of Germany and a German bridge 
between West and East; while, thus transformed, Austria 
could never again become the rival of Germany. In France, 
Italy, and Great Britain, the cry “ no dismemberment of Aus- 
tria ” had at once been taken up by Pacifist and pro-German 
writers. It had also been adopted by the Bolshevist wing 
of the Russian Soviets. The chief interest of international 
finance, I insisted, was that the network of Austro-German 
finanoial institutions, of which Vienna was a main centre, 
should not be destroyed by an Allied victory. The British 
writers who were claiming that the federalization of Austria 



140 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


by the emperor Charles would be a long step towards a satis- 
factory peace, should answer the question how the young Em- 
peror could escape from German military, financial and eco- 
nomic control, and how he could overthrow the Magyar 
oligarchy whose control of Hungary was a vital interest of 
Prussia — for, without the “ federalization ” of Hungary, how 
could the " federalization ” of Austria be other than a sorry 
farce? 

THE SINGLE FRONT 

To these arguments there was and could be no reply, and 
for some months the pro-Austrian campaign died down. 
Meanwhile, another campaign, less public but equally intense, 
was being conducted in British official and military circles 
for and against the principle of a “ single Allied front.” The 
failure of the French spring offensive and the heavy British 
fighting in the battle of Arras convinced impartial observers 
that the “ killing Germans ” theory and the “ war of attri- 
tion ” waged by the Allies separately, or with insufficient co- 
ordination, could never yield decisive results. General Sir 
Douglas Haig, the British Commander-in-Chief, and General 
Sir William Robertson, the Chief of Imperial General Staff, 
were the strongest partisans of maintaining an independent 
British command, whereas Mr. Lloyd George, the Prime Min- 
ister, General Sir Henry Wilson, the former Chief of General 
Staff, and Field Marshal Lord French, the former Commander- 
in-Chief, strongly favoured the principle of a single front with 
a single supreme command. Partisans of each tendency sought 
to retain or to gain respectively the support of Lord North- 
cliffe who adhered to the motto “ Trust the Soldiers ” — mean- 
ing Haig and Robertson — which he had adopted before the 
second battle of the Somme in September, 1916. The details 
of this controversy are not known to me but I have a shrewd 
suspicion that one of the reasons which induced Mr. Lloyd 
George to ask Northcliffe to go to the United States as head 
of the British War Mission in June, 1917, was a wish to 
utilize his knowledge of America and the Americans while 
removing his influence from the military wrangle at home. 



THE DARKEST HOUR 141 

If so, Mr. Lloyd George was mistaken. Before Northcliffe 
started he left general instructions to the editors of his news- 
papers to “ back the soldiers ” and thus stereotyped their 
attitude. Had he remained in England, his own view might 
gradually have been modified under pressure of circumstances 
instead of changing so suddenly as it changed after his return 
in November, 1917, when the collapse of the Italian front at 
Caporetto and the heavy British losses in the fighting round 
Cambrai and at Bourlon Wood convinced him that there was 
something radically defective in the British military con- 
ception of the war. 

NORTHCLIFFE^ WAR MISSION 

Of Northcliffe^ War Mission to the United States I know 
little at first hand. Though I have copies of all the circular 
letters which he sent to his friends, they were not addressed 
to me in particular and I am not entitled to draw upon them. 
But his personal letters to me give an idea of the task he 
undertook. He never really recovered from the strain to 
which it exposed him; and I have always attributed the final 
collapse of his health to the hard work he did in America. 
He found British organizations in a chaos out of which he 
evolved some kind of order; but what weighed chiefly upon 
his mind were the impossibility of getting prompt or adequate 
replies from London to his representations, and the immense 
risk to which the Allied cause was exposed by the shortage 
of oil supplies for the British fleet. In eliminating this risk 
he received ready and efficient help from Mr. A. C. Bedford, 
the President of the Standard Oil Company and from other 
American oil magnates. One letter to me, dated August 21, 
1917, illustrates his state of mind. It runs: 

Because I do not write to you, please do not think that you are 
not in my mind. I do not write because I get no time to write to 
anybody. 

A stupendous task has been placed on my shoulders. I am a sort 
of buffer between the United States Government and our own. The 
entire ignorance at home of American personalities and American 
ways causes us here great anxiety. The person with whom we have 



142 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


principally to deal is McAdoo, Secretary of the Treasury and son- 
in-law of the President; he is an able, ambitious man, and is con- 
sidered a presidential possibility. He will advance no money to us 
without the endorsement of some military authority in Europe. His 
enemies accuse him of squandering money among the Allies like 
a drunken sailor — a well-known American phrase. I have been 
cabling to England about this matter since the 15th July, and we 
have had long silences and perpetual misunderstandings. 

Make no mistake about it, this country is beginning to make war 
on a gigantic scale. It is muddling a good deal, but men are being 
enrolled with great rapidity, and they are fine men too. The change 
since I arrived is immense. 

I do my best behind the scenes — urging expedition. I hope I am 
not flattering myself too much when I say I know I have helped. 

Lloyd George’s optimistic speech about the submarines did in- 
finite harm here and has paralyzed our efforts to hasten ship 
construction. 

There is an uneasy suspicion in Government circles here that our 
Government is rather weak. The American Government is not 
weak. 

This exile is a great sacrifice and the work is infinite, irksome, 
and anxious. It begins at half-past six in the morning and goes on 
until bed time. I have not read a book or visited a place of amuse- 
ment since I arrived. My consolation is that I am doing my bit, and 
I assure you that some consolation is required during the heat wave. 

One day, I trust, an adequate account of Northcliffe’s work 
in the United States may be published. At no period of his 
life can he have worked harder or done better service to his 
country. The financial situation worried him constantly, 
and when, partly at his suggestion, the American Government 
asked that Lord Reading might be sent to deal specially with 
it, Northcliffe was greatly relieved. All kinds of malicious 
rumours were spread in London as to the reasons for Lord 
Reading’s mission; and, in a letter to Northcliffe dated Septem- 
ber 20, 1917, I wrote: 

Foolish people, who do not know that you asked that he might 
be sent out, have been spreading stupid rumours, but by this time 
they have been well scotched, if not killed, by those of us who know. 

In this letter I also gave some information for which Lord 
Northcliffe had asked about Austrian brutalities, and added: 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


143 


the truth is that the Austrians and the Magyars have behaved just 
as badly as the Germans though their misdeeds have been given 
less publicity in England. It is not generally appreciated, for in- 
stance, that they have hanged some twenty thousand Austrian and 
Hungarian subjects for suspected civil disaffection alone; and that 
they have deliberately starved many thousands of Rumanes, Serbs, 
and Czechs. I fancy that the various Hapsburg peoples who are rep- 
resented in the United States know a good deal more about these 
things than the English-speaking American citizens. 

In reply to my references to Lord Reading, I received, on 
October 12th, the following telegram from Northcliffe: 

Reading came by special urgent and repeated request of American 
Government. He has no diplomatic ambitions and is anxious to re- 
turn as quickly as possible. Has partly solved almost impossible 
Canadian financial situation and achieved considerable success in 
Washington already. American Government helpful on the whole, 
but appalled by magnitude of financial task. They are complete 
masters of the situation as regards ourselves, Canada, France, Italy, 
and Russia. Loan to us strongly opposed by powerful section of 
Congress. If loan stops, war stops. Reading handling this dangerous 
and delicate situation so far perfectly. Washington likes him and he 
makes special appeal because he is a Liberal. People at home never 
seem to appreciate that the majority of members of the American 
Government are Liberals of Manchester Guardian type. War spirit 
here growing and preparations are enormous. 

By this time I had heard that there was a prospect of North- 
cliffe returning to England, at least temporarily, and wrote 
him on October 14th: 

I am glad to hear that there is some chance of your coming back 
at least for a time, because I am sure your influence here is needed. 
There are questions of Man Power to be settled, and also the ques- 
tion of our casualties to be considered. On this latter point I am 
not sure that the Government are getting all the facts, and there 
seems to be a good deal of hide-and-seek going on between Sir 
William Robertson and Lloyd George. We seem to have sent over 
to France something like 720,000 fighting men since the end of 
April without increasing our effectives there. Indeed, accounts I 
have received from regimental officers seem to show that the Army 
is now weaker than it was last spring, while the Reserve at home 
has fallen from 1,680,000 men to 920,000 men. It follows — or seems 



144 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


to follow — that wastage and casualties have eaten up more than 
100,000 men a month during the last six months, though we are 
continually assured that our losses are “very light.” 

So critical was the military and “ man power ” question 
that, when Northcliffe reached London towards the middle of 
November, a determined attempt was made to “ nobble ” him 
by the partisans of “ the soldiers,” in order that he might be 
impressed by their view before hearing any other side. I 
thought, and had serious reason to think, that the narrow 
“ military ” view was wrong and that the partisans of the 
“single front” were right; but I felt that direct evidence 
alone would convince Northcliffe, and that those who sought 
to “ nobble ” him would be likely to catch a tartar as soon 
as he had looked into matters for himself. Therefore I kept 
away from him and merely wrote advising him to listen to 
nobody until he could find time to go thoroughly into things. 
The “ nobblers ” had some initial success ; but when North- 
cliffe went to the front after the battle of Cambrai, in which 
his favourite nephew, Lord Rothermere’s eldest son, had been 
mortally wounded, he was shocked by what he saw and heard. 
He told me afterwards that his nephew — who was the first 
wounded officer to die in Lady Northcliffe’s hospital for offi- 
cers — had said to him, “ We don’t mind being killed but we 
object to being butchered.” To Northcliffe, the loss of Lord 
Rothermere’s first and second sons in the war was a poignant 
grief. They were splendid boys who had more than “ done 
their bit ” in the trenches, and had refused Staff appoint- 
ments on recovery from earlier wounds. How far the sense 
of personal loss contributed to change Northcliffe’s view of 
the military situation I do not know, but it certainly rendered 
him accessible to other arguments than those of the narrow 
military school. 

Though I had no access to official documents at this stage, 
I have a record of some of the considerations which were de- 
bated by prominent members of the Government in the pres- 
ence of Sir Douglas Haig, Sir William Robertson, Field Mar- 
shal Lord French, and General Sir Henry Wilson. They 
were: 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


145 


The principal argument against what may be called the General 
Staff standpoint is that the Germans spent half a million men in 
learning an unanswerable lesson at Verdun. Instead of profiting 
by that lesson, the Allies had spent more than a million men in 
imitating the German methods at Verdun. The original programme 
of the Passchendaele offensive, which began on July 31st, estimated 
that the point actually reached on November 15th would have been 
reached by the middle of August. The attacks of October 12th along 
the Passchendaele ridge and of November 10th northwest of Pas- 
schendaele ought never to have been delivered. Too much was being 
asked of the Army and its spirit was being broken. The belief 
of the Higher Command, that the war would be won if the enemy 
could be driven away from the Belgian coast, was fallacious. The 
attempt to stake the whole of our comparatively depleted resources 
upon this form of strategy was dangerous in the extreme. The ob- 
session of the General Staff by the idea that nothing mattered ex- 
cept this small section of the Western front had been one of the 
causes of the Italian disaster at Caporetto. The truth was being 
hidden from the country although the army as a whole knew it. 
The methods of blind hammering at a strong defensive position 
must be abandoned and the whole strategical outlook must be ex- 
amined afresh, especially in the light of Italy's position. 

CAPORETTO 

It was at this time an open secret that Mr. Lloyd George 
shared the views of General Sir Henry Wilson and of Lord 
French on these matters. In Paris, on November 12th, he 
had spoken publicly of the need for an Allied War Council, 
to the want of which he attributed the Serbian, Rumanian, 
and Italian disasters. It was soon after this that I had with 
him in Paris the conversation on the Clausewitz doctrine which 
I have recorded in the preceding chapter. He certainly pos- 
sessed the synthetic imagination which so many British, and 
not a few Allied, generals lacked. Though I saw him rarely, 
I knew that his influence had been decisive in causing 
General Sir William Robertson to change his mind after the 
Caporetto disaster at the end of October, and in procuring 
the despatch of three British divisions to the Italian front. 
I shall not readily forget the anxiety of those days. The news 
that the Italian front had given way on Wednesday, October 
24th, and that, during the subsequent retreat, the Austrians 



146 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


and Germans had captured 100,000 prisoners and 700 guns, 
reached London by German wireless between October 25th and 
October 27th. The whole Allied position was evidently im- 
perilled. The Italian Government fell; alarm, amounting al- 
most to panic, prevailed at Milan, and the question arose 
whether the Italians would rally sufficiently to hold the line 
of the Piave. Yet the British General Staff was strongly averse 
from any reinforcement of the Italians, and on Saturday morn- 
ing, October 27th, Colonel Fagalde, the French liaison officer 
at the War Office, was informed to this effect. But his mes- 
sage to General Foch crossed a message from General Foch 
telling Sir William Robertson that the French General Staff 
thought the Italian position extremely critical and that three 
French divisions would start for Italy that night. Sir William 
Robertson took this message at once to Downing Street where 
Mr. Lloyd George and the' War Cabinet decided immediately 
that three British divisions should also start for Italy, and 
instructed Sir William Robertson to go with all speed to the 
Italian front in order to see things for himself. 

Nevertheless, the British War Office remained obdurate. 
The newspapers of Sunday, October 28th, bore evident traces 
of anti-Italian inspiration. The Italian military attache, 
General Mola, and some of my colleagues of the Italian press, 
told me of their fear lest British aloofness cause an irreparable 
panic in Italy. Before going to The Times office on the Sun- 
day afternoon I called, therefore, upon Sir Edward Carson 
who was then the minister in charge of propaganda and of 
the censorship. He informed me confidentially of the British 
decision to send reinforcements. But, on reaching the office, 
I found that a circular from the War Office had been secretly 
addressed to the Press explaining that the Italian situation was 
by no means so critical as the Italians made out, that the 
number of German divisions reported to be operating against 
the Italians had been grossly exaggerated, that the Italians 
still possessed a considerable superiority in men and guns over 
the Austro-German forces and that, in short, there was nothing 
to be excited about. Simultaneously with this circular, came 
another circular, evidently issued with British military ap- 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


147 


proval, from a Russan officer in London, General Dessino, 
who' claimed that the Germans had not withdrawn from the 
Russian front anything like the number of divisions mentioned 
by the Italians, and suggested that Italian accounts of the 
disaster were grossly overdone. 

Since the editor was absent from London, I felt bound to 
act promptly. Returning to Sir Edward Carson’s house I in- 
formed him of these circulars and said that, unless they were 
withdrawn immediately and replaced by official instructions 
to the Press to avoid comment discouraging to Italy, the effect 
of the circulars would be to induce an anti-Italian tone in the 
whole British press on the Monday morning and possibly to 
create in Italy the very panic which it was in the interest of 
the Allies to avoid. I told him also that, in view of this dan- 
ger, I should submit to the Press Bureau for censorship a 
paragraph stating that British reinforcements were already on 
the way to Italy and that the Italian Government knew it; 
and I asked him to authorize the Press Bureau to pass the 
paragraph for publication. 

Sir Edward Carson took action at once. The War Office 
circulars were withdrawn and, within an hour, instructions en- 
couraging to Italy were substituted for them. My paragraph 
was passed by the censorship. I informed my colleagues of 
the Italian press and, through them, the Italian military afc 
tache who had already made representations at the War 
Office. While a leading article, encouraging to Italy, was being 
written, Colonel Repington, then military correspondent of 
The Times , telephoned to announce that, in his comment on 
the situation, he was going to “ slate ” the Italians. I advised 
him to do nothing of the kind and warned him that, if he did, 
his article might not be published. I told him of the two cir- 
culars issued by the War Office, said I thought them disgrace- 
ful at such a moment, and added that people who could blunder 
so egregiously were not fit for their jobs. He asked if I thought 
General Sir George Macdonogh, the Director of Military In- 
telligence, unfit for his job, since it was probably he who had 
issued the circulars. 



148 THROUGH THIRTY tEARS 

“ In that case,” I answered, “ he is certainly nnfit for his 
job.” 

Thanks to Sir Edward Carson’s promptness, the leading 
London newspapers wrote, on the morning of Monday, October 
29th, in a tone of warm encouragement to Italy and main- 
tained it throughout the week, with a reassuring effect upon 
Italian public opinion. The feeling that Allied support was 
coming steadied the “ home front ” in Italy, while the “ war 
front” was being steadied by arrangements made at an 
emergency Allied Conference. Little by little, the Italians 
rallied and strengthened their position on the Piave line. 
For this rally they deserve the more credit since the British 
and French reinforcements did not actually go into the line 
until it could be seen whether the Italians had recovered 
enough moral to stand. This question whether the Allied 
reinforcements should be used at once or whether they should 
be held in reserve, was one of the most critical of the war. 
Had they been thrown in at once, as the Italian Command 
wished, and had the Italian troops then given way in other 
parts of the line, the British and French divisions would 
have been needlessly sacrificed or overwhelmed in the 
debacle. But the very fact that the reinforcements were there, 
nerved the Italians to gallant efforts and made it also a point 
of national honour that they should stop the Austro-German 
offensive unaided. 


“losing my head” 

In Colonel Repington’s published diary “ The First World 
War,” reference to my attitude during the Caporetto crisis is 
made in terms of which the foregoing account may afford 
some explanation. In several passages of his book he twits 
me with my military views, but in the entry dated Friday, 
November 2, 1917, he writes: 

Steed is furious with the War Office, and pours into me over the 
telephone a stream of vituperation, but I can't make out what he 
wants. The Italian affair, which began on October 23, has resulted 
in a great smash, and Cadoma is back behind the Tagliamento, 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


149 


with a loss of 180,000 prisoners and 1,500 guns. We and the French 
are sending divisions, but the whole aSair looks very bad. Cadoma 
assured us before the attack that he and his generals were confident 
of success. They had a superiority of 200,000 men, but the 2nd 
Italian Army allowed the Germans, six divisions, to run over them, 
and surrendered in a wholesale manner, defending themselves feebly. 
Robertson is in Italy. Most people seem to have lost their heads 
like Steed, and to be busy abusing everybody else. 

Whether it was I who “ lost my head ” readers may judge; 
but there was a sequel to the “ stream of vituperation ” that 
Colonel Repington alleges I “ poured into ” him on the tele- 
phone; and, in justice to Sir George Macdonogh, it must be 
recorded. Towards the end of the first week in November, 
Sir George asked me to call upon him at the War Office where 
he remarked, after some preliminary conversation: 

“ I understand that you think I am unfit for my job.” 

“ You have either been listening at the telephone or some- 
body has been listening for you,” I answered. “ It is true 
that when Repington told me that you were probably responsi- 
ble for those War Office circulars I said that, in that case, 
you were not fit for your job; and, having said it in my haste, 
I now repeat it at my leisure.” 

“ Well,” he answered, “ I only want to tell you that I had 
nothing whatever to do with those circulars.” 

“ Therefore,” I returned, “ my remarks do not apply to you,” 
and we parted on the best of terms. 

One other entry in Colonel Repington’s Diary also requires 
some comment. Under date of Saturday, January 6, 1917, 
he writes: 

The Dutch Minister came up to consult me about the personages 
to be asked to a dinner which he is giving to the officers of the Dutch 
Military Mission now in England. He showed me the list and sug- 
gested an alteration. He thinks peace may come, and says that he 
has found hardly any one except Steed to discard emphatically and 
a priori the idea of peace. A good mark to Steed. 

The Dutch Minister in London, M. van Swinderen, an 
active, pertinacious and extremely witty diplomatist, was in- 
defatigable throughout the war in attempting to promote an 



150 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


inconclusive peace. As a personal friend of the former Coun- 
sellor of the German Embassy in London, Herr von Kuhlmann, 
he disseminated among his diplomatic colleagues and British 
public men von Kuhlmann's ideas — which may also have 
been his own — upon the reestablishment of contact between 
England and Germany. M. van Swinderen visited me again 
and again at The Times office in order to impress these ideas 
upon me. On one occasion he said, “ If only I could get some 
reasonable British statesmen to meet my friend, von Kuhl- 
mann, for a few hours, I am sure they would come to terms.” 
My answer was so emphatically negative as to be scarcely 
courteous, but the Dutch Minister took no offence. He pegged 
away with rare persistence, and even when I made it clear 
that he was wasting my time, he was not discouraged. He 
returned one evening to complain of a leading article in which 
The Times had taxed the Dutch Government with pushing its 
diplomatic neutrality to the point of unfriendliness toward the 
Allies. Expatiating upon the difficulty of Holland's position, 
he said that were she to show preference for the Allies she 
would have to fear German reprisals and might even share 
the fate of Belgium. I answered that we did not complain of 
her political and diplomatic neutrality but we did complain of 
her spiritual neutrality between right and wrong. The Allies 
were defending the rights and the interests of small nations, 
including those of Holland, and were entitled to expect that 
the governments of those nations should not be at heart against 
them. Allowances could be made for submission to force 
majewre, but not for alacrity in subservience. 

Van Swinderen thought I was unjust toward Holland. He 
even urged that Dutch friendship for Germany might be useful 
to the Allies as soon as they wished to make peace. I assured 
him that any British statesman who might wish to make peace 
through Holland, or his friend von Kuhlmann, would most 
assuredly and most deservedly be hanged. Van Swinderen an- 
swered that nobody else in London talked as I was talking, and 
declared that peace negotiations would have to begin because 
the Allies would never beat the Germans. “ What you say,” 
I answered, “ is rank blasphemy. If the Allies do not beat 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


151 


the Germans, it will be all up with your country; but they 
will beat them, in spite of you and your spiritual neutrality.” 

A few days later I came across van Swinderen in a corridor 
at the Foreign Office, where he was talking to the Italian 
Ambassador, the Marquis Imperiali. When he spoke to me in 
English, I replied in German and asked, “ How goes ‘ spiritual 
neutrality,’ your Excellency? ” 

“ What horrible language are you talking? ” exclaimed van 
Swinderen, also in German. 

“ The future language of the Netherlands. Hats off to it! ” 
I answered. 

“ That only shows what nonsense a clever man can talk 
when he speaks a foreign tongue,” was van Swinderen’s witty 
reply. 

If the Dutch Minister was one of the most active advocates 
of a drawn war, he was certainly not alone in thinking that 
peace might be made by negotiation; and some inkling of his 
reports upon the views of sundry British politicians probably 
reached enemy governments through their Legations at the 
Hague. Indeed, during the spring, summer, and autumn of 
1917, neutral diplomatists in London would have needed 
especial acumen to judge the position accurately. After the 
Russian revolution, an insidious attempt was made to under- 
mine the moral of Allied peoples in the form of a proposal 
that a kind of preliminary peace conference should be held at 
Stockholm by representatives of Socialist and Labour parties 
from Allied and enemy countries. The veteran British Social 
Democrat, H. M. Hyndman, however, denounced the Stock- 
holm conference as “ a trap arranged and manipulated to 
secure a German peace.” “ Who called the Conference? ” he 
asked. “ A small Dutch section [of the Socialist International] 
chosen only to keep the formal business of the International 
Bureau going during the war! A single fact will show how 
completely this coterie is subject to German influence. Of 
the three Dutch members who sent the invitations, one, the 
deputy Troelstra, a man of ability and an excellent speaker, 
received, like the Leninists from Zurich, a safe conduct through 
Germany. But Troelstra went much further than they did. 



1S2 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

He visited Berlin, and there had a long personal interview 
with the German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Herr Zimmer- 
mann. What for? To obtain instructions for the [Stockholm] 
Conference? Surely this alone ought to convince the world 
how little the conveners of the Conference are to be trusted.” 

Fortunately the majority of the French Socialist Party 
refused to be represented at the Stockholm Conference, and 
the French Government presently declined to issue passports 
to the extreme Socialists who wished to attend. Ultimately 
the scheme fell through. None the less, it had been shrewdly 
conceived. It was launched at a moment when disappointment 
was felt in Allied countries at the failure of the French spring 
offensive under the new Commander-in-Chief, General Nivelle. 
It coincided also with another Austrian attempt to stimulate 
the belief of Allied governments in the possibility of making 
a separate peace with the Hapsburg Monarchy. When the 
Austrian Reichsrath assembled on May 31st, for the first time 
since the outbreak of war, the young Emperor Charles promised 
to introduce constitutional reforms as soon as peace should be 
made. Colour had been given to his protestations of sincerity 
by the resignation on May 22nd, of the Hungarian Prime 
Minister, Count Tisza, who, next to the German Emperor, had 
been the outstanding political figure in enemy countries. Early 
in June, the Austrian Emperor’s brother-in-law, Prince Sixtus 
of Parma, attempted to enlist the sympathies of the French 
Government on the side of Austria and had also caused feelers 
to be put out in London. Mr. Lloyd George was influenced by 
them to the extent of asking the French Ambassador, M. 
Cambon, to beg the French Foreign Minister not to reject 
Austro-Hungarian overtures offhand but to consider them very 
seriously. Coming as it did in the midst of the French political 
and military crisis caused by the substitution of General Petain 
for General Nivelle as Commander-in-Chief, M. Cambon’s 
telegram caused alarm in Paris. I heard of this telegram 
within a few days of its being sent, though I found, on enquiry, 
that nothing was known of it either at the British Foreign 
Office or in the Prime Minister’s personal secretariate at 
Downing Street. It was one of the many important but secret 



THE DARKEST HOUR 153 

communications that passed between the Allied Governments 
at critical stages during the war. 

THE MISSION OF GENERAL SMUTS 

Though these pro-Austrian intrigues led to no immediate 
result, they continued through the summer and autumn of 
1917 and, in November, culminated in the departure of General 
Smuts on a secret mission to Switzerland where he met and 
discussed with Count Albert Mensdorff, the former Austro- 
Hungarian Ambassador to London, the possibility of making 
peace with Austria. In view of the Italian disaster at 
Caporetto and of the critical position in Italy, this Smuts 
mission was one of the most singular steps secretly taken by 
British diplomacy at a juncture when the Allied armies were 
preparing to face another winter in the trenches and the Allied 
peoples were nerving themselves for what they hoped would 
be a final campaign in the spring of 1918. What justification 
there may have been for such a mission it is impossible now to 
determine. That it took place, and that General Smuts was 
accompanied by persons in the confidence of Mr. Lloyd George 
and of the War Cabinet, is indubitable. It is unlikely that 
the British General Staff guessed the real objective of the 
Austro-German offensive against Italy in October, 1917, for 
it was not until the winter of 1921-22 that some very 
prominent British soldiers learned of it. During the Washing- 
ton Conference on the Limitation of Armaments, the German 
Commander at Caporetto, General von Below, met at dinner in 
Washington some of the Allied Commanders against whom he 
had fought. Among them was General Lord Cavan, now Chief 
of the British Imperial General Staff, who, in the spring of 
1918, commanded the British divisions in Italy. During dinner, 
General von Below asked whether the Allies had ever guessed 
the real Austro-German objective^ at Caporetto; and, on 
hearing their answers, he told them they were wrong and 
that the real objective had been the city of Lyons. The 
Germans and the Austrians had hoped, after breaking through 
the Italian front, to overrun the north of Italy, to turn the 



154 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

French Alps, and to be within striking distance of Lyons by 
the time the great German spring offensive would have begun 
in the northwest. In any case, the French would have been 
obliged to detach large forces from the Western front in order 
to defend what would have become the Southern front. Had 
the British General Staff suspected the nature of the enemy 
plan when the Italian front collapsed at Caporetto, General 
Sir William Robertson and Sir Douglas Haig would hardly 
have resisted the despatch of British divisions to Italy, even 
had they thought the Austro-German plan chimerical. But, 
in November, 1917, when General Smuts met Count Albert 
Mensdorff in Switzerland, the plan was by no means chimerical. 
Moreover, the existence of such a plan explains why the 
Austrians — doubtless, with German acquiescence — should 
have intrigued insistently for a “ separate peace ” with the 
object of bringing confusion into Allied councils. It shows 
also how imprudent was the British Government in revealing 
its anxiety for peace to the extent of sending so well-known 
a figure as General Smuts to a country like Switzerland where 
the movements of every prominent individual were watched 
and reported upon by a host of spies. 

On the morrow of General Smuts’s return from Switzerland 
I heard, through a trustworthy channel, that he had been on 
a mission to meet Count Albert Mensdorff and that the mission 
had failed. Therefore I called on him at the Savoy Hotel 
in London and had with him the following conversation. 

“ Well, General,” I said, “ here you are back again.” 

“ Yes,” said Smuts, “ I could not stand being cooped up in 
London any longer. I am used to a life in the open air. So 
I rushed off to Devonshire for a week and now feel a new 
man. Those Devonshire lanes are really wonderful.” 

“ Devonshire,” I exclaimed. “ I thought you had been in 
Switzerland.” 

“ Switzerland! ” returned Smuts. “ What put that idea into 
your head? I have never been near Switzerland.” 

“ That is very strange,” I answered. “ I thought you had 
been to Switzerland to discuss with Albert Mensdorff the 



THE DARKEST HOUR 155 

possibilities ot nLaking peace with Austria, and that you had 
not quite found a basis.” 

“What cock-and-bull stories you journalists do get hold 
of! ” returned the General. “ It is really preposterous.” 

But the GeneraPs tone convinced me that he was merely 
fencing. Therefore I continued: 

“ If you have never been to Switzerland, I suppose you have 
never been to Austria. Would it not be a little imprudent for 
a man knowing nothing of Austria to discuss Austrian affairs 
with a bom Austrian like Count Mensdorff? I used to know 
something about Austria; but if I had been asked to meet 
Count Albert Mensdorff I would not have gone.” 

“ Why not? ” asked Smuts keenly. 

“ Because I should not have felt competent to deal with 
him,” I continued. “ I know enough of Austria to be pretty 
certain that when an Austrian official means 1 white 7 he never 
says 1 white. 7 Still less does he say ‘ black 7 as a Prussian 
might do. He usually says some shade of grey; and, in order 
to know precisely what shade he means, one needs to be a 
bora Austrian or to be very skilled in Austrian matters. When 
I left Austria, more than four years ago, I could probably have 
guessed. But since then, the bloom has worn off my instinct. 
Had I been commanded to meet Mensdorff I should have 
insisted on taking two born Austrians with me, Dr. Benes 
and Dr. Trumbitch, for instance. I should have lodged them 
in another hotel and, when I had talked with Mensdorff, 
I should have gone to them and have said 1 Mensdorff says 
so and so; I think he means something not quite the contrary. 
What is your feeling about it? 7 Then I might have got an 
approximate idea of what Mensdorff was driving at. 77 

“ That is very remarkable, 77 said Smuts. “ But then you 
are an expert on Austria. Now let us suppose that I have 
been to Switzerland and have discussed things with Mensdorff. 
What would you say to suggestions like this? 77 — and he 
proceeded to sketch several alternative schemes for the re- 
organization of Austria after the peace and the detachment 
of Austria from Germany. 

“ Do you imagine for a moment, 77 I asked, “ that the Ger- 



156 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

mans did not know about Mensdorffs meeting with you? Is 
it conceivable that Austria could, if she would, escape from 
the German grip? Why, that would mean the collapse of the 
whole German position, for Austria is the key to it, and we 
shall never beat the Germans unless we smash Austria first. 
In some ways I am sorry for the Austrians, but it is their 
own fault. I warned them again and again between 1908 and 
1913 where their policy would lead them to, and they would 
not listen. I told Mensdorff in July, 1914, that I would not 
help Austria to commit suicide. But now they have done it, 
and there is no way out for them unless the Allies are defeated 
or, what amounts to the same thing, unless an inconclusive 
peace is made; and there is no way out for the Allies unless 
Austria is smashed.” 

“ I cannot say that I agree with you,” said General Smuts. 
“ I have been ‘ mugging up ’ Austria hard for six months, and 
I think I know something about it. Tell me, by the way, is 
Moravia in Hungary or in Austria? ” 

If he had asked me whether Northumberland is in England 
or in Scotland, I should have been less surprised. After telling 
him that Moravia was in Austria, I took my leave reflecting 
that, whether or not I repeated the conversation, General 
Smuts would always be entitled to say that he had em- 
phatically denied having ever been to Switzerland; and that 
the danger of entrusting negotiations of that sort to a clever 
man unacquainted with the fundamental conditions of the 
Austrian problem were not small. 

THE ADVENT OF CLEMENCEAU 

Fortunately this danger, and, with it, the danger of an in- 
conclusive peace, had, to some extent, been averted by the 
formation of a Clemenceau Cabinet in France. Early in 
November I had gone to Paris to give the inaugural lecture 
of a series upon “ The Allied Democracies and the War,” and 
had again found French opinion nervous and critical. The 
Painleve Cabinet was without the authority to face the position 
and to prepare adequately against the big German offensive 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


157 


which was to be expected in the spring. I sought to convince 
my audience, which was large, representative and very in- 
fluential, that the British people were determined to win the 
war at all costs and, as a motto, I quoted a letter which a 
wounded French officer, whom the Germans had captured, 
had smuggled out of a German Reprisals Camp. It ran, “ We 
are suffering horribly, but the brute is dying, dying slowly. 
Don't yield an inch! ” 

Shall we quail before the German offensive in Italy? [I asked in 
conclusion.] It is a peace offensive, an act of despair. Shall we 
admit our powerlessness to heal the sickness of the world? No, 
a thousand times, no! In our hearts we feel that our pains are the 
birth pangs of an era whose greatness will be in proportion to the 
faith and the courage we shall have shown. Let us not yield one 
inch. 

There came in response so fervid an outburst of assent from 
the audience that I could no longer doubt French determina- 
tion. I felt that M. Philippe Berthelot, the Director-General 
of the Foreign Office, who had assured me that France, as a 
whole, was sound, had judged his fellow countrymen rightly. 
He had also told me that, within ten days, Clemenceau would 
be Prime Minister and would liquidate the Caillaux affair — 
though Caillaux had long been M. Berthelot's personal friend 
— and that General Foch would lead the Allies to victory. 

Armed with Berthelot's hint I called on M. Clemenceau, 
saying: 

“ Well, M. le President, you are coming into power again.” 

“ Yes. The country is calling for me. C’est une force” 

“ What will you do? ” 

“ I shall make war." 

“ What about Caillaux? ” 

“ That is part of the war. I shall look after that." 

“ Whom will you have with you? ” 

“ Pichon — he is a faithful dog — and one or two others." 

u What about Albert Thomas? ” (The former Socialist 
Minister of Munitions.) 

“ If he likes to come I will take him.” 



158 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


“And if not? ” 

“ I shall pass him by.” 

“ May I tell him that? ” 

“ Certainly.” 

I asked about Albert Thomas because I had an appointment 
with him next day. His influence on Anglo-French relations 
had been valuable and his personal friendship with Mr. Lloyd 
George had enabled him to round off many a sharp comer. 
When I saw him I said: 

“ I hear that Clemenceau will soon be Prime Minister.” 

“ You are quite wrong,” he answered. “ The [Socialist] 
Party would revolt against him and the Federation of Labour 
will not hear of him.” 

“ Yet my information is very precise. I have even reason 
to think that when Clemenceau forms his Cabinet he will 
include you in it, if you are willing.” 

“ I have to think of my Party.” 

“ My dear Thomas, there are moments when a Party leader 
has to decide whether he will lead his followers or be led by 
them. This may be such a moment for you; and much, very 
much, is at stake.” 

“ I fear the Party would not follow me. Besides, things are 
not going that way.” 

I heard afterwards that, on November 11th, Clemenceau 
himself went to Thomas and said: 

“ I am going to be Prime Minister. I am old, you are 
young. Lend me a hand and I will presently pass my hand 
to you”; but that, when Thomas mentioned his “Party,” 
Clemenceau had answered roughly, “ You are a rotter,” and 
had turned on his heel. 

On November 13th the Painleve Cabinet fell. On the night 
of November 15th I was coming out of an Underground rail- 
way station in Paris into the darkness, when the light from 
below fell on the face of a bearded man who was descending 
the stairway. 

“ Thomas! ” I exclaimed. He turned; and we went together 
into the street, where I asked him whether he had decided 
to join Clemenceau. 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


159 


“ No,” he said. “ Besides, Clemenceau is not going to form 
a Government. I have just come from the Presidency of the 
Republic and the crisis is going in quite another direction.” 

“ Be careful, Thomas,” I returned ; “ my information is that 
Clemenceau will form his Cabinet to-morrow.” 

“ We shall see, we shall see,” Thomas answered with a know- 
ing smile. “ Don’t be too sure.” 

We did see. Next morning Clemenceau formed his Cabinet. 
Thomas was not in it — to the regret of all his friends; and 
Clemenceau trod his hard way alone, with some colleagues 
who were scarcely of the calibre for the big work in hand. 

THE AMERICAN VANGUARD 

Two other incidents of those days in France stand out in 
my mind. The first divisions of American regular troops were 
being trained for the front so that they might learn in advance 
the lessons of modem warfare which the French and British 
armies had learned at so heavy a cost. They had much to 
learn; but some of their French instructors complained that 
the American Regular officers were not ready pupils. “ They 
think they know it all,” said to me one French veteran, 
aged thirty. " Probably they will have to learn from the enemy 
(as we had to learn) that they have got to unlearn what they 
think they know before they can learn usefully. Your new 
British armies on the Somme were just the same in 1916, but 
they learned fast enough when fifty per cent, of their effectives 
were gone. Only, there may not now be much time for 
anybody to learn.” 

This situation, as well as the need of explaining to the 
American troops, officers and men alike, the origin and course 
of the war, was appreciated by the American Higher Com- 
mand and by the American Y.M.C.A. headquarters in Paris, 
which did its utmost to promote intercourse and intercompre- 
hension between the European Allies and the American Army. 
I was among the speakers invited to address gatherings of 
American officers and of men in Paris and elsewhere. My 
experience certainly did not bear out that of the French 



160 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


instructor. I found everywhere the utmost eagerness to know 
and to understand. A first talk in Paris was printed verbatim 
in the Y.M.C.A. journal and circulated to all the American 
forces in France; and I was asked to repeat it, or something 
like it, to the officers and men in camp near Beauvais. 

This was a strange adventure. We started one afternoon 
from Paris in an open 12-cylinder Packard car driven by a 
Hindu who knew a little French but had no idea of the 
country. The four American officers who accompanied me 
had a map, but spoke no French. Nevertheless, we managed 
to reach our destination, where I found myself confronting 
a large audience in a huge tent with double canvas sides 
and roof. A harder place to speak in I cannot imagine. 
The canvas seemed to absorb the voice before it could reach 
the front rank. In the smoky distance at the far end of the 
tent I saw a soldier leaning forward, obviously trying to hear. 
I felt that, if I could make that man hear, the others would 
hear also. For over an hour I kept his attention with a rapid 
sketch of European history since 1870, of the policy of Ger- 
many, of the struggles of the French Republic, of the reasons 
why England had come into the war and of what the British 
Empire had done, and ended with an outline of the kind of 
peace it was necessary to win. Then I urged upon all the need 
of going to school humbly and of profiting by the lessons which 
the Allied instructors could teach them. 

It was my first experience of a large American meeting. 
Though I felt I was speaking quite well and that what I said 
would have roused any similar British or French gathering, 
the American soldiers remained stolid. There was little or no 
applause, and their faces were expressionless. At the end, the 
men clapped their hands — perfunctorily, as it seemed to me 
— for a few seconds, and I thought that my effort had failed 
lamentably. I was preparing to escape from the oppressive 
silence when a soldier in the middle of the tent stood up and, 
with a strong nasal drawl, said: 

“Boys! I want every boy who feels like me, that he feels 
more than he can say, to get on to his feet.” 

Without a sound the whole company rose and stood silently 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


161 


to attention. Then one man came forward and shook my hand. 
During the next quarter of an hour my arm felt as though it 
were being tom off. At last one hulking fellow exclaimed: 

“ If what you said was true, and you said it as if it was 
true, what we were told before we sailed wasn’t true.” 

“ What were you told? ” I asked. 

“ We were told that we were being sent over to Europe to 
fight England’s battles because the British don’t fight, if they 
can help it, but always get other darned fools to fight for 
them. Then, when the others are all killed, the Britishers 
grab the loot.” 

“ Do you know what we in Europe have been told about 
America? ” I replied. “ We have been told that instead of 
coming into the war at first, or when the Lusitania was sunk, 
the Americans had just watched and waited till everybody 
in Europe should be down and out, so that America might chip 
in at the last moment and get all the glory with the least 
effort and at the least possible cost. You know how true 
that was.” 

“ It’s a damned lie,” roared the men in chorus. 

“ Well,” I answered, “ by the truth of that, you may guess 
how much truth there was in what you were told. The only 
thing you and we have got to do is not to listen to tales about 
each other but to get on with the job, which is to wallop the 
enemy.” 

During the drive back to Paris — when we were lost for 
hours in a thick fog and our Hindu driver refused to go on — 
I had ample leisure to reflect on the miracle which had brought 
these men across 3,000 miles of ocean from a territory covering 
3,000 more miles of land, to fight in what must have seemed 
to most of them an obscure quarrel among the funny little 
nations of Europe. Even now, few Europeans realize how 
extraordinary an event was the American intervention in the 
war. Many explanations of it have been offered, but I think 
the truest was given by the late Ambassador of the United 
States to London, Mr. George Harvey, though at the time it 
roused the wrath of his own people against him. He said, 
“ We were afraid not to fight.” From the Atlantic to the 



162 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Pacific Mr. Harvey was denounced for putting an unmerited 
slur upon his country. Even President Harding, with whom I 
discussed Mr. Harvey’s speech at the White House in July, 
1921, thought that his Ambassador had blundered badly. In 
the United States, nobody seems to have enquired why Mr. 
Harvey’s definition was not misunderstood in England. The 
speech, which was addressed to an English, not to an American 
audience, meant, and was understood in England to mean, that 
the American people felt that if they did not fight, if they 
held aloof from the greatest struggle for political and individual 
liberty in the history of the world, they would disinherit them- 
selves as co-heirs to free civilization, would be guilty of 
apostasy to their best traditions and highest ideals, and would 
irremediably lose caste among the democratic nations of the 
world. Thus they decided to fight for a cause which was 
ideally and morally their own, because they feared that, if 
they did not fight, the cause might be lost. 

That was Mr. Harvey’s meaning, as every Englishman 
knew; but Americans resent so fiercely any apparent slur upon 
the idealism which, when all is said and done, is their strongest 
national characteristic, that they hastened to place upon their 
Ambassador’s subtle definition an interpretation which, in my 
view at least, it ought notcto bear. 

PROPAGANDA BY FEAR 

In the other incident which impressed me during my 
November visit to France I was not directly involved. Never- 
theless, it coloured my whole view of the immediate future. 
One of my French friends, who knew Germany thoroughly 
and who held an influential office under Clemenceau’s Govern- 
ment, was visited secretly by a Swiss who had long been 
in close touch with influential German circles. He came 
ostensibly to warn my friend that, unless France made peace 
within the next two months, she would be utterly crushed in 
the early spring. I give the conversation as it was repeated 
to me at the time. 

“You know how I love France,” said the Swiss; “and I 



THE DARKEST HOUR 


163 


have come to tell you that, if she wishes to escape complete 
overthrow she must treat for peace immediately. The Ger- 
mans, as I have every reason to know, are preparing for the 
spring the most terrible offensive yet conceived. Russia is out 
of the war, Italy is holding on by the skin of her teeth, England 
has lost far more men than she can replace, the Americans are 
not ready, and France is bled white. Nothing can stop the 
Germans from taking Paris in March at latest, except a prompt 
peace for which Germany would not ask unreasonable terms.” 

“ We are not afraid,” answered my friend. 

“ You have the courage of ignorance,” returned the Swiss. 
“ You don’t know what awaits you. There will be an attack 
in overwhelming strength at your weakest point, it will be 
supported by masses of tanks, an unprecedented concentration 
of artillery, tens of thousands of machine guns, gas of a kind 
you have never yet faced, clouds of aircraft, and a dozen new 
devices you do not even suspect. I beg of you to warn your 
Government that this is the eleventh hour.” 

“ We are not afraid,” my friend repeated. 

“ You are blind and mad,” continued the Swiss. " I tell 
you, and I know, that the attack will be irresistible and that 
France will be crushed, perhaps obliterated. I adjure you to 
believe me.” 

“ We are not afraid,” was again the answer. 

The Swiss changed countenance. 

“ If that is true,” he said, “ if you really have no fear, 
hold on. The Germans cannot stand another six months of it.” 

As I took train for London I thought again of the wounded 
French officer’s letter from the German Reprisals Camp, “ The 
brute is dying, slowly dying. Don’t yield an inch.” 



CHAPTER XV 


PROPAGANDA 

1917-1918 

B Y the New Year, 1918, it was clear that the decisive hour 
was at hand. Secret information merely bore out the 
conclusions of common sense. However greatly the Germans 
might have been encouraged by the advent of the Bolshevists 
and strengthened by the collapse of Russia, they knew that the 
arrival of American troops in France must, in time, turn 
the scale in favour of the Allies. Thus Germany was bound 
to force an early decision. The position of the Allied Com- 
manders was critical. They did not then expect that Ameri- 
can reinforcements would, or could, reach Europe in the num- 
bers or with the speed actually attained in the spring. Some 
of them thought, indeed, that the American arrivals would 
barely suffice to make good Allied losses in the fighting line. 
More than one Allied statesman lost heart. The Lansdowne 
letter, published in the Daily Telegraph on November 29, 1917, 
had not been an isolated phenomenon. Though the editor of 
The Times had rightly declined to publish it, the displeasure 
shown in unexpected quarters at his refusal and the warmth 
of the support given by pro-Germans and pacifists to Lord 
Lansdowne’s plea for a negotiated peace, showed that it was 
a concerted move. To take, as Lord Lansdowne took, the 
assurances of enemy statesmen and the arguments of the 
Vatican at their face value; to argue that Allied ideas upon 
the future of Southeastern Europe needed revision at a mo- 
ment when that region was entirely held by the enemy, North- 
west Italy overrun, Russia in the grip of the Bolshevists, and 
the British line in France weaker than at any moment since 
the beginning of 1916, was tantamount to a confession that 
the Allies were well-nigh beaten and ready to sue for terms. 

164 



PROPAGANDA 


165 


Even had it stood alone, the Lansdowne letter would have 
been one of the least praiseworthy performances of British 
public men during the war. But it formed part of active 
propaganda that was secretly going on in favour of an incon- 
clusive peace. Among the memoranda confidentially circu- 
lated was one by a prominent officer wielding considerable 
political influence. When it was presently sent to me for 
opinion, I wrote upon it a docket that probably reposes to-day 
in the archives of a Department of State. Unluckily, I took no 
copy of the memorandum itself; but, if my recollections and 
those of others who read it are approximately accurate, it 
argued in favour of peace terms that would have given Ger- 
many a free hand in Russia and the East while leaving 
Austria-Hungary practically intact; and suggested that, 
though Belgian political independence must be restored, Bel- 
gium might be allowed to enter a German Customs Union. 

My view of this memorandum was that, like the Lans- 
downe letter, it proposed in reality to leave Germany in a 
position to carry out the greater part, if not the whole, of 
the pan-German programme for the sake of which she had 
made the war. Of this programme the preservation of the 
Hapsburg Monarchy, under German control, was an essential 
feature; and, inasmuch as there could be no Allied victory 
without the liberation of the subject Hapsburg races, the 
existence and circulation of ideas like those put forward in 
the Lansdowne letter and in the officer's memorandum com- 
pelled men who believed in an integral Allied victory to be 
on their guard. 


DECLARATION OP CORFU 

They needed to be on their guard. Not only were the con- 
scious and unconscious pro-Germans in Allied countries dis- 
seminating counsels of half-heartedness, but dissensions had 
arisen even in quarters to which an inconclusive peace would 
have meant total ruin. In the winter of 1916-17 there had 
been in the Southern Slav Committee serious bickerings which 
Seton-Watson and I had been instrumental in composing; 
and the Committee itself was far less efficient than the 



166 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Czechoslovak National Committee under Masaryk, BeneS 
and Stefanik. Supilo had left it, and Trumbitch, its President, 
had grown so disconsolate that, when I had seen him at Mar- 
seilles in January, 1917, he had talked of emigrating to South 
America and of earning his living as a taxicab driver in 
Buenos Aires. The Serbian Government, in exile at Corfu, 
and particularly the Prime Minister, Pashitch, were un- 
willing to accept the Southern Slav programme of national 
union on a federal basis with full political and civil equality 
for Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. The Prince-Regent Alex- 
ander, with whom Seton -Watson and I had repeatedly dis- 
cussed this question, was far keener of vision and broader of 
mind, but he was not a free agent, and Pashitch sought to cir- 
cumscribe his action. In May, 1917, Pashitch, however, yielded 
so far to the pressure of circumstances as to invite Trumbitch 
to Corfu. On hearing of this invitation, Seton-Watson and I 
urged Trumbitch to come to London for consultation with us 
and Supilo. He came and agreed with us upon the main lines 
of any declaration of Yugoslav policy to which the Serbian 
Government might subscribe; and, after his departure, Supilo 
telegraphed an exhaustive statement of his own views to 
Pashitch in order to strengthen Trumbitch’s position. The 
upshot was the famous “ Declaration of Corfu ” of July, 1917, 
in which Pashitch and Trumbitch, as “ the authorized repre- 
sentatives of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes,” recognized 
“ the desire of our people ” to constitute itself in an inde- 
pendent national State; adopted as its name “the Kingdom 
of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes ”; provided for the unifica- 
tion of its flag and Crown but equally for the free use of 
special Serb, Croat, and Slovene flags and emblems; for the 
freedom of the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Mussulman 
creeds; declared that the Adriatic must be a “ free and open 
sea,” and that “ the Kingdom will include all territory com- 
pactly inhabited by our people and cannot be mutilated with- 
out attaint to the vital interests of the community. Our nation 
demands nothing that belongs to others but only what is its 
own. It desires freedom and unity.” 

Three weeks later the Italian Foreign Minister, Sonnino, 



PROPAGANDA 


167 

and the Serbian Prime Minister, Pashitch, came to London 
and were present together on the platform when Mr. Lloyd 
George, at a public meeting, defined British war aims. Of 
the three statesmen Pashitch was not the least loudly ac- 
claimed; and Sonnino, who made a non-political speech, re- 
ceived direct evidence of the strength of British popular sup- 
port for the Yugoslav cause. Had the public then known the 
extent of the promises rashly made to Italy by Mr. Lloyd 
George at the Saint Jean de Maurienne Conference in the 
previous April, where the Treaty of London was confirmed 
and a sphere of influence was promised to Italy in Asia 
Minor, Sonnino might have been less warmly welcomed. In 
long conversations with him I explained once more the bear- 
ings of the Southern Slav question and argued that it would 
be to the interest of Italy to work for its complete solution 
on the basis of an Italo-Yugoslav agreement. 

Sonnino, though alarmed at the progress of pro-Austrian 
tendencies in British official quarters, rejected my arguments 
and contended that he must, at all costs, hold on to his Treaty 
of London. He admitted, however, that Trieste would have 
to be a free port — for the singular and erroneous reason that 
“ the whole current of Central European trade towards the 
South and East flowed through Trieste.” When I controverted 
this argument, he confessed that his information was derived 
chiefly from Italianized Triestine Jews and that he had taken 
no account of the strategic intention in which the pan-German 
railway from Salzburg through the Tauern mountains to 
Trieste had been built. Indeed, I got the impression that 
his information was at once scanty and partial. 

THE EFFECT OF CAPORETTO 

In Italy the Declaration of Corfu had made a stir. It was 
interpreted — rightly — as an official enunciation of Southern 
Slav policy against the Treaty of London, but also, and 
wrongly, as a proof of Southern Slav hostility towards Italy. 
Its object was to create a definite charter of Southern Slav 
unity and to embody the aspirations of the Serbians of Serbia 



168 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


and of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes of Austria-Hungary 
and Montenegro in one unitary pronouncement. The phrase 
that “the Kingdom will include all territory compactly in- 
habited by our people ” was meant to leave open the door 
to negotiations and agreement with Italy in regard to the 
mixed territories around Trieste and in Istria which were in- 
habited by Slavs and Italians in various proportions. This 
intention was perceived by a number of liberal Italian writers 
who had come to understand how detrimental the Treaty of 
London had been and must be to the interests and to the 
security of Italy herself. Even before the Caporetto disaster 
a movement towards agreement with the Southern Slavs had 
sprung up among enlightened Italians and had made head- 
way despite the fierce opposition of the Italian official and 
Nationalist press. But it was not until after Caporetto had 
opened the eyes of Southern Slavs and Italians alike to the 
intimate correlation of their political interests, that the move- 
ment became general. On the evening of Friday, October 26, 
1917, when the first circumstantial accounts of the Caporetto 
disaster had reached London, Trumbitch came to see me in 
a state of consternation. “ If Italy is smashed, we are 
smashed,” he said and, literally with tears in his eyes, he 
deplored the Italian misfortune with the air of a man whose 
most cherished hopes had been shattered. Subsequently some 
members of the Southern Slav Committee in London and some 
Italians met by chance at my house and found in their com- 
mon grief a bond of sympathy. From the contact thus estab- 
lished between reasonable Italians and Yugoslavs — Supilo, 
who would have mourned the Caporetto disaster as sincerely 
as Trumbitch, and would have worked with equal energy 
for an Italo-Yugoslav agreement, had unhappily died in the 
previous September — the idea arose that an attempt should 
be made to draft an informal Italo-Yugoslav agreement which 
might serve as a basis for future official negotiations. Conse- 
quently, some distinguished Italians and some representatives 
of the Yugoslav Committee met unofficially at my house on 
December 14 and 18, 1917, and, in two long debates, adum- 
brated the lines of a possible settlement. 



PROPAGANDA 


169 


As acting chairman of the Serbian Society of Great Britain 
after the death of Lord Cromer, I presided, and was sup- 
ported on behalf of the Society by Sir Arthur Evans. Seton- 
Watson, who was still under military discipline, attended 
as “ an expert.” The Italians were General Mola, the Italian 
Military attache in London, and his assistant, Captain Vicino 
Pallavicino; Major Filippo De Filippi, the head of the Italian 
propaganda Bureau in London; and Signor Guglielmo Emanuel, 
the London correspondent of the leading Italian newspaper, the 
Corriere della Sera, of Milan. The Southern Slavs were Trum- 
bitch, in his private capacity as a Croat from Spalato in 
Dalmatia; Gazzari, a Croat from Sebenico in Dalmatia; 
Gregorin, a Slovene from Trieste and a former member of the 
local Diet; MeStrovitch, the great sculptor, a Dalmatian Croat; 
Trinaestitch, a Croat from Istria, and Banjanin, a Serb from 
Agram. 


AN HISTORIC DEBATE 

The intrinsic importance of this meeting and the mis- 
representations to which it afterwards gave rise, necessitate 
some account of its proceedings. In opening it I said that the 
extremely critical position of the Allies made it a duty for 
everybody to help. It was not a moment to cultivate suscep- 
tibilities or to insist pedantically upon past engagements. If 
the Allies were defeated, all those engagements would go by 
the board. In that event, Italy could not hope even to realize 
her minimum national aspirations, nor could the Southern 
Slavs attain national unity except in the form of total servi- 
tude to Austria-Hungary and Germany. Between the official 
basis of Italian policy [the Treaty of London of April, 1915], 
and the official basis of Southern Slav policy, [the Declaration 
of Corfu] it should be possible to find a middle term. Italians 
should remember that the Treaty of London had already 
damaged them by making the war against Italy appear to the 
Southern Slavs of Austria-Hungary a war in defence of Slav 
territory, and that the Declaration of Corfu had operated 
in favour of Italy by stimulating a movement among the 
Southern Slav troops of Austria-Hungary in favour of unity 



170 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


and, consequently, of defection from the Hapsburgs. This 
movement had, indeed, been one of the reasons which had 
induced Germany to take control of the Austro-Hungarian 
Army on the Italian front and to conduct the Caporetto 
offensive before the Austro-Hungarian Southern Slavs should 
become entirely unreliable; and now it might be turned 
definitely against Austria-Hungary and Germany if Italy, 
Serbia, and the Southern Slav Committee could agree upon a 
joint declaration of policy such as would reassure the South- 
ern Slavs of Austria-Hungary in regard to the intentions of 
the Allies. By this means the Austro-Hungarian “ home 
front ” might be broken and the defeat of Germany hastened. 
Naturally, such a declaration could only be based upon the 
principles of nationality, and of security in the Adriatic for the 
chief Adriatic peoples. It was in the hope of finding a basis 
for some such declaration that I had asked Italians and 
Southern Slavs to confer together. 

General Mola, the Italian military attache, said that his 
presence must not be regarded as engaging in any way the 
Italian Embassy or the Italian Government. He had come 
solely in his private capacity as an Italian deeply interested 
in the problem of Adriatic security and in the establishment, 
by an Allied victory, of conditions for a lasting peace in 
Europe. He did not regard the Treaty of London as having 
been inspired by special hostility towards the Southern Slavs. 
The authors of the Treaty were dealing with a situation of 
fact, not seeking to upset a moral situation created by South- 
ern Slav aspirations towards unity. In 1915, the possibility 
that Russia might secure control of the whole Slav world 
had to be taken into account in considering the defence of 
the Italian position in the Adriatic. But the course of events 
in Russia since the Revolution had eliminated the Russian 
factor. Italy might consequently be able to look at the 
Adriatic problem from a new standpoint. The entry of the 
United States into the war and President Wilson’s proclama- 
tions of the principle of nationality and of the right of peoples 
to determine their own allegiance had also wrought a change. 
Patriotic Italians were therefore freer to look uponj the 



PROPAGANDA 


171 


Adriatic question as a whole and to consider whether the 
material and moral interests of Italy could not be brought 
into harmony with the moral and material interests of Serbia 
and the Southern Slavs. But it was, in Mola’s view, essential 
that Italy should not be the only Allied country to revise its 
war aims. There must be a general revision of Allied war 
aims, not merely a renunciation by one Ally alone. 

Dr. Trumbitch also insisted that he and his friends were 
there in a private capacity, not as delegates of the South- 
ern Slav Committee. He recognized the value of a friendly 
exchange of views and the establishment of personal relations 
with influential Italians. He admitted the force of General 
Mola’s arguments that, in making the Treaty of London, 
Italy had not necessarily been animated by special hostility 
toward the Southern Slavs and that the possible ambitions of 
Russia had entered largely into Italian calculations. But the 
Treaty of London still existed. No agreement would be 
possible on the basis of it. The Declaration of Corfu, to 
which Serbia had given international value by communicating 
it to the Allied Powers as an official definition of Serbian war 
aims, represented the Southern Slav standpoint. Yet the 
Treaty of London was an international convention, whereas 
the Declaration of Corfu was, for the moment, a unilateral 
political act, of which the significance lay in the circum- 
stance that it was the programme of the whole Southern Slav 
nation. Its fundamental idea was the union of Serbs, Croats, 
and Slovenes in one State on a basis of complete political 
and religious equality. In order to attain agreement with 
Italy on this basis it would be necessary to set aside the 
Treaty of London. 

Sir Arthur Evans pointed out that the Treaty of London 
had been made in the supposition that the Austro-Hungarian 
Monarchy would survive the war, whereas it was indispensable 
that Austria-Hungary should be broken up by the liberation 
of her subject peoples. Therefore the Treaty of London had 
lost its raison d’etre. 

General Mola pertinently argued that the other signatories 
of the Treaty of London had been as responsible as Italy for 



172 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


its provisions. In order to prepare an Italo-Yugoslav agree* 
tnent it would be desirable to start from general principles 
without entering too closely into territorial details at the 
outset. In the practical working out of any agreement it 
would be necessary to recognize the existence of what he 
would call “ grey zones,” between the distinctly Italian and 
the distinctly Southern Slav regions. The eventual delimita- 
tion of these zones would require much study and goodwill on 
both sides and, possibly, the good offices of a third party. 
Italy had no desire for conquest, but she could not leave her 
strategic security out of account. He must insist especially 
upon her strategic requirements. In attaining her own na- 
tional unity, Italy had been obliged to proceed step by step 
and to make considerable sacrifices of territory. He begged 
the Southern Slavs not to be uncompromising from the start 
but to consider whether it would not be better to secure as 
much as might be practically possible now and to leave the 
rest to the future. 

To these arguments I replied that the deep animosity which 
had arisen between Italy and France after the war of 1859 
and the cession of Savoy and Nice to France, showed how 
dangerous the course recommended by General Mola might 
be. An agreement between Italy and the Southern Slavs 
would be worth little if it left burning questions open and 
allowed German influences, for instance, to play upon them. 
It was not merely a question of delimiting territory between 
Italy and the Slavs of the Adriatic but of laying the founda- 
tions for so close an economic, political, and even military 
alliance between them as would strengthen the influence of 
Italy and of her civilization on the eastern shore of the 
Adriatic and beyond. The Southern Slavs needed another 
“ culture ” besides their own. For them the choice lay prac- 
tically between Italian and German “ culture.” It was to 
the interest of Italy that they should not choose the German, 
but that the knowledge of Italian which was widespread 
among the Slavs of Dalmatia should extend to the whole 
Yugoslav world. 

Some doubt having been expressed whether aspirations 



PROPAGANDA 


173 


towards unity were general among the Austro-Hungarian 
Southern Slavs, all the associates of Trumbitch identified 
themselves with his statements, M. Gregorin in particular 
pointing out that the Slovenes could find only in union with 
the Serbs and Croats protection against the Germanizing pres- 
sure to which they had been exposed by Austria in order to 
prepare for German dominion over Trieste and the Adriatic. 
Trumbitch then controverted General Mola’s suggestion that 
Yugoslav national unity might be achieved gradually. For the 
Yugoslavs it was a case of “ now or never.” If any consider- 
able part of Southern Slav territory remained under Austria- 
Hungary, it would mean that the Hapsburg Monarchy would 
continue to exist and would be, under German control, a 
stronger agent than ever of Germanism. The recurrence of 
an upheaval like this war could not be foreseen and was 
assuredly not to be desired. The Southern Slavs must hold 
fast to their programme of complete national unity and of 
the liberation of the subject races of Austria-Hungary, the 
Czechs and the Slovaks, the Italians, the Rumanes, and the 
Poles, as well as the Southern Slavs. He believed this pro- 
gramme essential and in harmony with the true interests of 
Italy. He and his fellow Yugoslavs desired not merely an 
agreement but a relationship of close alliance and brother- 
hood with the Italians; but they could not purchase such an 
alliance by sacrificing regions whose inhabitants would speedily 
become centres of a Southern Slav irredentism that would 
prevent cooperation and cordiality. 

A PASSAGE OF ARMS 

On December 18th, when the debate was resumed, General 
Mola renewed his appeal to the Southern Slavs not to make 
“ everything or nothing ” their watchword. He thought that 
the application of the principle of nationality might well be 
made a joint war aim of Italy, Serbia, and the Southern Slavs; 
but at the same time he felt he must insist upon the importance 
of the “ grey zones.” The details of any settlement must be 
left to the Allied governments after victory and might depend 
upon the nature of the victory. 



174 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


Twmbitch replied somewhat sharply that the situation as 
between the Southern Slavs and Italy was not a blank page 
but was covered by two conflicting, if not incompatible, agree- 
ments — the Treaty of London and the Declaration of Corfu. 
The former provided for the mutilation of Southern Slav terri- 
tory; the latter for its integrity. It was necessary to know 
whether the Italian Government still pinned its faith to the 
Treaty of London. If so, the prospects of an Italo-Yugoslav 
understanding would be small. The Italian Government was 
no longer confronted merely by an unrecognized moral situa- 
tion consisting of Southern Slav aspirations towards national 
unity. It was in the presence of a unitary policy solemnly 
accepted and declared by an Allied government, the Govern- 
ment of Serbia. Upon that policy the Southern Slavs took 
their stand, and they could not abandon it without betraying 
the peoples whom they represented. 

Both the tone and the substance of Trumbitch’s words made 
the position critical. Before any Italian could reply, I urged 
that the position was not, in reality, so crystallized as Trum- 
bitch seemed to think. On the one hand, Baron Sonnino him- 
self might have evolved somewhat during the war, and he 
might not always adhere unconditionally to the Treaty of 
London. British and French statesmen had, for their part, 
learned much; and the principles proclaimed by President 
Wilson had rendered the integral application of the Treaty 
extremely improbable. On the other hand, the position defined 
in the Corfu Declaration had not been reached in a day. 
Originally, Serbia had looked rather towards Macedonia than 
towards Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slovenia. When pressed by 
the Allies to make concessions in Macedonia so as to facilitate 
an arrangement between the Allies and Bulgaria, Serbia had 
spoken of “ compensation ” — meaning Bosnia-Herzegovina 
and an outlet to the Adriatic. Russia also had talked of “ com- 
pensation,” and, under the influence of the Holy Synod, had 
been averse from the principle of Southern Slav unity on a 
basis of equality, lest the purity of Serbian Orthodoxy be in- 
quinated by Croat Catholicism. Serbian military circles had 
regarded the Southern Slav territories of Austria-Hungary as 



PROPAGANDA 


175 


a sort of Macedonia, to be annexed to Serbia and placed under 
a Serbifying military regime. Against this conception Supilo 
— and indeed, the Croats and Slovenes generally — had pro- 
tested. They desired unification, not annexation. The true 
conception of Southern Slav unity, as set forth in the Declara- 
tion of Corfu, had only been adopted officially by the Serbian 
Government after the collapse of Russia, though it had long 
been held by enlightened Serbians and, in particular, by the 
Prince Regent, Alexander. 

The Declaration of Corfu itself, with its proclamation of 
complete political and religious equality for Serbs, Croats, 
and Slovenes, and the provision that the new Kingdom would 
embrace all territory “ inhabited compactly ” by the Southern 
Slav peoples, left open the door to an agreement with Italy, 
inasmuch as the “ grey zones,” to which General Mola had 
alluded, were precisely the zones affected by the legitimate 
national aspirations of Italy. Once the principles of nation- 
ality, of Southern Slav unity, and of the security of the 
Adriatic were jointly recognized by Italy, Serbia, and the 
Southern Slavs, the basis for a lasting agreement would have 
been created. 

In the light of his historical studies of the Eastern Adriatic 
region, Sir Arthur Evans observed that the possession of the 
eastern coast of the Adriatic had never afforded an adequate 
strategic guarantee to any Power. In the long run Dalmatia 
could never be held by a maritime Power against a State con- 
trolling the Hinterland. The Romans had occupied the coast 
but could do nothing with it until they secured also Pannonia 
and Illyria. The Venetians had held the coast but had never 
been safe against the peoples of the Hinterland. The Turkish 
conquest had come from the Hinterland, not from the sea. If 
the Adriatic was to be guarded against Germanic control it 
could only be guarded by Italy and by the Southern Slavs 
jointly. Singly, neither of them would be strong enough to 
guard it. 

With these strategic arguments General Mola agreed in 
principle; but he urged again that there must be a general 
revision of Allied war aims, not a sacrifice to be made by Italy 



176 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

alone. Hia personal military opinion was that it might 
be unwise for Italy to insist upon occupying parts of the Dal- 
matian coast from which she would be territorially separated. 
The time for holding colonies in Europe had gone by; and 
were Italy to possess a part of Dalmatia it could be merely a 
colony dependent on maritime connections. He thought there 
should be territorial continuity between the Italian mainland 
and Italian possessions on the eastern shore of the Adriatic 

On the subject of Dalmatia, Trumbitch agreed with General 
Mola. The occupation of any part of Dalmatia by Italy 
would merely cut it off from the Hinterland and leave it to 
wither. Were a plebiscite to be taken in Dalmatia on the 
question “ Italy or Yugoslavia? ” many of the 18,000 Italian- 
speaking inhabitants of Dalmatia would join the 600,000 
Dalmatian Slavs in voting for Yugoslavia, because Dalmatia 
could only exist and prosper by maintaining connection with 
her Hinterland. But the crux of the Italo-Yugoslav question 
was not in Dalmatia; it was in Istria and around Trieste. 
Save for the cities on the coast, Istria was preponderatingly 
Southern Slav; and the whole Hinterland of Trieste, as far 
north as the border of Carinthia, was also Southern Slav. No 
Southern Slavs could assent, even in principle, to the annexa- 
tion of all these Hinterlander by Italy. For one thing, they 
would be disavowed by the populations themselves. 

Before Trumbitch had finished, General Mola showed signs 
of impatience. Then he asked to be allowed to speak “ with a 
certain vehemence.” If the price of an agreement with the 
Southern Slavs was to be the abandonment of Italian national 
aspirations to Trieste, Pola, and Istria, in the name of which 
the Italian people had entered the war, such a price could 
not be paid. It was inconceivable that Italy should be asked 
to make such sacrifices. There must be give and take. In 
saying what he had said about Dalmatia, he had expressed his 
personal view and had, in particular, admitted the possibility 
of a sacrifice which would seem very heavy to a large number 
of Italians. But unless that sacrifice were to be recognized as 
such by the Southern Slavs, and unless they, in their turn, 



PROPAGANDA 177 

were ready to make sacrifices, there could be no basis for 
agreement. 

Thus we reached the climax of the debate. A tart reply 
from Trumbitch might have caused a breach. During the dis- 
cussion I had gradually become aware of a difficulty I had not 
foreseen — the wide difference between the Italians and the 
Southern Slavs as to the meaning of terms which both were 
using. We were all speaking Italian, which Trumbitch spoke 
as fluently as Mola. But while Mola had an Italian con- 
ception of things, Trumbitch spoke unconsciously with an 
Austrian conception. In Austria, most political controversies 
turned upon points of historical “ right ” and of State or 
Constitutional jurisprudence. Each party to an Austrian 
political dispute was accustomed to begin by laying down as 
intangible, in theory, the maximum historico-juridical claims 
of its own side; and agreement, if reached, was only reached 
after long bargaining, on the strength of some new juridical 
formula. Trumbitch had in fact been using a juridical and 
political vocabulary which the Italians could not understand. 
Though I understood it by reason of my experience in Austria, 
just as I understood the Italian political vocabulary from hav- 
ing lived in Italy, I realized that an attempt to interpret the 
conceptions of the Austrian Southern Slavs to the Italians, or 
vice versa, would lead to so much disquisition and hair-6plitting 
that it would probably be useless. 

Therefore I suggested that Mola in his turn had not under- 
stood the real sense of Trumbitch’s reservations, which had 
meant that the Southern Slavs would not, and could not, 
abandon in principle their maximum ethnographical claims 
unless they were quite sure that such abandonment would not 
place them in a false position. But, for the moment, it was 
necessary to be practical. English supporters of the Southern 
Slav cause and of an Italo-Yugoslav agreement were not 
concerned with the maximum demands of either side but with 
the possibility of finding a working basis for an agreement. 
They had never contested the right of Italy to Pola, to the 
Western coast of Istria, or to Trieste and the Triestine Littoral, 
nor did I believe that the Southern Slavs themselves seriously 



178 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


contested it. The true question was, how great a part of 
Istria and how much of the Triestine Hinterland would be 
needed to give a fair political and geographical frontier to 
the new Italian possessions. This point could not be settled 
offhand; but, in our opinion, there ought to be no difficulty in 
providing for territorial continuity between an Italian Pola, 
an Italian Trieste and the pre-war territory of Italy. The 
idea that the Southern Slavs included Italian territory like 
Udine in their aspirations was absurd. 

Yet, however the frontiers might ultimately be drawn, 
large numbers of Southern Slavs would inevitably remain on 
Italian territory just as a number of Italians would probably 
come under Southern Slav control in Dalmatia and Fiume. 
For these populations, special arrangements must be made; and 
detached racial minorities would have to be protected. But 
the whole question of Italo-Yugoslav agreement might be in- 
soluble unless it were approached from the standpoint of the 
joint interest of both parties in defence of the Adriatic. 

These views having been strongly supported by Seton- 
Watson, the debate proceeded amicably. Trumbitch ex- 
plained that in speaking of Trieste and Pola he had only 
wished not to admit, even in a private conversation, the idea 
that, by means of a “ grey zone,” the whole of Istria and of 
the Hinterland of Trieste might be claimed by Italy. Neither 
he nor his friends could accept so heavy a responsibility. After 
I had urged that both Trieste and Fiume should be free ports 
so as to give an outlet to the sealess peoples of Central Europe; 
and after the positions of the Slovenes and of the Slavs of 
Istria had been defined by Gregorin and Trinaestitch respec- 
tively, General Mola summed up the debate as follows: 

That in their joint struggle against Austria-Hungary, Italy 
and the Southern Slavs should take their stand upon the 
principle of nationality. 

That, under an Italo-Yugoslav agreement, Italian claims to 
territorial possessions in Dalmatia might be modified, ade- 
quate provision being made for the protection of Italian 
minorities. 

That, in the so-called “grey zones,” important economio 



PROPAGANDA 179 

and strategic factors must be taken into account besides the 
principle of nationality; and 

That in any arrangement, race minorities must be respected 
by both parties. 

Trumbitch added that the right of peoples to determine 
their own allegiance should not be lost sight of. 

General Mola then stated that, in view of the measure of 
agreement reached, he would be prepared to abandon his pri- 
vate capacity and to report upon the debate to the Italian 
Ambassador. Trumbitch, for his part, agreed to report to 
the Yugoslav Committee and, when its assent had been se- 
cured, to draw up a memorandum for the British Foreign 
Office in conjunction with the Serbian Minister in London. 

THE “WAR AIMS” CONTROVERSY 

The beginning thus made was swiftly followed up. General 
Mola made his report, Trumbitch informed the Southern Slav 
Committee, Signor Emanuel acquainted the proprietor and 
editor-in-chief of the Corriere della Sera, Senator Albertini, 
with the substance of the debate and I communicated it both 
to the Foreign Office and the Serbian Society. The courage of 
General Mola in attending the meeting and in speaking as he 
spoke was of a high order, for it exposed him, as he knew it 
might expose him, to the rancour of the Italian Nationalists 
who thought no form of calumny too vile to use against him. 
I, too, presently came in for my share of abuse. I was secretly 
denounced by an Italian Nationalist for “ holding festivals to 
celebrate the Italian defeat at Caporetto.” Nevertheless, 
things went forward, thanks in part to propitious circum- 
stances. The Germans and the Austrians had begun to nego- 
tiate for peace with the Russian Bolshevists at Brest-Litovsk; 
Mr. Lloyd George delivered, on January 5, 1918, a speech on 
British war aims after having informed Mr. Asquith, Sir 
Edward Grey and the Labour Party of it; and President 
Wilson published, on January 8th, his famous “Fourteen 
Points” message to Congress. Early in February an influ- 
ential committee, representing both Houses of the Italian 



180 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


Parliament, was formed in Rome to promote agreement with 
the Yugoslavs; and it presently sent Dr. Andrea Torre, a dis- 
tinguished member of Parliament, to negotiate with Trumbitch 
in London a definite formula of agreement. 

In the meantime, Mr. Lloyd George's “ War Aims " speech 
and President Wilson's message had raised a controversy with 
Count Hertling, the German Chancellor, and Count Czerain, 
the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister. Under the influence 
of the pro-Austrian tendencies in England, Mr. Lloyd George 
had said, on January 5th, that “the breakup of Austria- 
Hungary is no part of our official war aims"; but he had 
also said “ government with the consent of the governed must 
be the basis of any territorial settlement in this war." He 
had foreshadowed an independent Poland and the restoration 
of Belgium and Montenegro. As regards Italy he had recog- 
nized “the legitimate claims of the Italians for union with 
those of their own race and tongue" ; and had promised justice 
to the aspirations of “ men of Rumanian blood and speech." 

An hour after making this speech, and before its text was 
available, Mr. Lloyd George sent for me. 

“ I have not been able to go as far as you would like about 
Austria," he said, “ but you will find that my speech goes a 
good way; and, for tactical reasons, it is important that it 
should not be opposed in the Press. There is a good deal of 
tactics in it and a little Bolshevism, but, on the whole, I 
think you will find it sound and I hope The Times will sup- 
port it." 

I could not commit The Times in advance, and I made 
express reservations about the passages concerning Austria- 
Hungary. But I said that I thought The Times would not 
quarrel with the general character of the speech, though it 
might have to reserve judgment on any particulars with which 
it did not agree. 

When I read the speech, parts of it seemed to be incom- 
prehensible. To speak only of the right of the Italians to 
“ union with those of their own race and tongue " was to deny, 
by implication, the validity of the Treaty of London which 
proposed to give to Italy large numbers of Southern Slavs 



PROPAGANDA 


181 


who were certainly not of her race and tongue. At the same 
time, to state that the break-up of Austria-Hungary was no 
part of British official war aims, and that government with 
the consent of the governed must be the basis of any terri- 
torial settlement, was to talk self-contradictory nonsense. 
From internal evidence I concluded that the speech had been 
prompted by influences not unlike those which had sent Gen- 
eral Smuts to meet Count Albert Mensdorff in Switzerland. 

Three days later came President Wilson’s “ Fourteen 
Points,” which, as regards Austria-Hungary and Italy, said: 

IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected 
along clearly recognizable lines of nationality. 

X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the na- 
tions we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded 
the freest opportunity of autonomous development. 

It was not surprising that Mr. Lloyd George’s and President 
Wilson’s pronouncements should cause anxiety in Italy. 
When the new Italian Prime Minister, Signor Orlando, came 
to London towards the end of January, I found him perplexed 
as to their meaning. He had heard of the debate between 
Italians and Yugoslavs at my house in December and wished 
to discuss the position. Before discussing it, I asked for his 
promise that the action of General Mola should remain secret 
and that he should not be victimized for his courage by the 
Italian Nationalists. Signor Orlando gave the promise “ on 
his word of honour as a Sicilian ” ; and we talked for two 
hours. As he pressed me for my " bottom thought,” I said 
that Italy had now a chance of gaining an independence she 
had never enjoyed since she attained unity by the occupation 
of Rome in 1870. Until 1875 she had been under the direct 
menace of a French attempt to restore the Temporal Power 
of the Pope. From 1875 to 1882 she had wavered between 
France and Germany; and Bismarck had coerced her by 
encouraging the French to take Tunis and by threatening, in 
his turn, to espouse the cause of the Pope. Thus she had been 
brought into the Triple Alliance; but from 1882 until 1898 she 
had felt the drawbacks of French resentment. Despite her 



182 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


efforts she had not escaped from German tutelage until she 
repudiated the Triple Alliance and entered the war in 1915. 
Even then she foolishly sought to safeguard her security by 
extorting from the Allies terms detrimental to herself. The 
only policy that could give her at once security and an hon- 
oured place in Europe would be openly to espouse the cause 
of the subject Hapsburg peoples, and to be their champion 
and advocate at the Peace Conference. Thus she might ex- 
tend her moral and political influence across the whole Dan- 
ubian region and secure the friendship of Yugoslavia, Ru- 
mania, and Czechoslovakia, which would look upon her as their 
guide and protectress. Then she need fear the hostility of no 
Great Power. She would also have established a claim upon 
the gratitude of the Allied peoples for having been chiefly 
instrumental in the overthrow of Austria and, consequently, in 
the defeat of Germany. But the essential preliminary to such 
a policy must be sincere agreement and cooperation with the 
Southern Slavs and the Czechoslovaks. 

As a step in this direction Signor Orlando agreed to receive 
Trumbitch, whom I introduced to him; and, at the request of 
both, I was present at their interview. Trumbitch stated his 
case ably and showed such comprehension of the Italian stand- 
point as to convince Orlando that, whatever other Southern 
Slavs might be, their leader was a reasonable statesman. At 
the end of their talk he invited Trumbitch to Rome. But, 
as he was apprehensive of Sonnino’s opposition, he suggested 
that, as an old friend, I should write Sonnino a full account 
of what had taken place at my house and beg him not to 
oppose the new policy. This I did; and on January 29, 1918, 
my letter was sent in the Italian diplomatic bag to Sonnino 
who was then on his way to Paris. In order that it might be 
accessible also to others I wrote it in Italian, setting forth the 
reasons for an Italo-Yugoslav agreement, stating the results 
of the debate at my house, mentioning the Orlando-Trumbitch 
interview, and concluding: 

The Austrophil tendencies of some official quarters here, the recent 
meeting between General Smuts and Austrian emissaries in Switzer- 
land, and the slightness of President Wilson’s knowledge of the 



PROPAGANDA 


183 


Austrian problem, convince me more than ever that it is expedient 
for Italy to follow a frank policy of liberation and of liberal en- 
couragement and protection towards the Austro-Hungarian Czechs, 
Poles, Rumanes, and Yugoslavs. On the basis of the Treaty of 
London alone, Italy cannot maintain her position in the Alliance; 
whereas she can, by a broadly liberal policy, acquire a moral primacy 
among the Allies in Europe, facilitate an agreement with the Yugo- 
slavs — without which the Adriatic will never be safe — and cut 
through at one stroke the whole network of shortsighted Austrophil 
intrigues in which too many Allied public men take delight. 

THE “PACT OP ROME” 

Sonnino let me know that he had received my letter; but, 
naturally, he did not answer it. Orlando, for his part, en- 
couraged the Parliamentary Committee at Rome to push for- 
ward its work. Towards the end of February, it sent represen- 
tatives to negotiate directly with the Yugoslav Committee in 
London and, in conjunction with a French Committee organ- 
ized by M. M. Franklin-Bouillon and Foumol, to prepare for 
a Congress of all the subject Hapsburg peoples at Rome. Be- 
sides Dr. Andrea Torre, who came on behalf of the Rome Com- 
mittee, the Italian Department of Propaganda sent Professor 
Borgese, a distinguished Italian writer, connected with the 
Corner e della Sera. Torre was an old friend, but Borgese I 
knew only by reputation. After some discussion with me and 
Seton-Watson, Borgese and Torre began negotiations with 
Trumbitch and his colleagues. Whenever there was a hitch 
or a deadlock, Seton-Watson and Sir Arthur Evans and I 
were called in to advise. Trumbitch could not move faster or 
further than the most recalcitrant members of the Yugoslav 
Committee, and was obliged to show an intractability which 
he was far from feeling. The patience of the Italian nego- 
tiators was admirable. Though they had never before come 
into contact with the exasperating qualities which Southern 
Slavs can display in negotiation, they kept their tempers and 
went to the extreme limits of concession. Yet, at midnight on 
March 6th, everything seemed to have broken down. The 
Italians had made their final offer which the Yugoslavs had 
finally rejected. During the early hours of March 7th, I and 



184 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

other friends of the Yugoslavs did our utmost to bring them 
to reason. Some of us even pointed out that, should their 
recalcitrance prevent an agreement, they might as well leave 
London, since they would have shown themselves pro-Austrian 
in practice however anti-Austrian they might be in principle. 
But arguments and expostulations seemed unavailing; and 
Seton-Watson and I made a farewell appointment with Dr. 
Torre at midday on March 7th, when Trumbitch was to bring 
him the written decision of the Southern Slav Committee. 
Torre was so dejected that I promised to give him a letter for 
publication testifying to his patience and saying that, hence- 
forth, I and my friends should withdraw our support from the 
Southern Slavs. 

Shortly after midday Trumbitch appeared. Instead of a 
letter rejecting the Italian proposals, he brought five copies 
of those proposals which, with slight modifications, he declared 
himself authorized to sign. Much relieved, Trumbitch, Torre, 
Emanuel, Seton-Watson, and I therefore signed the five copies 
as originals in quintuplicate of an Italo-Yugoslav agreement, 
it being understood that its first three points were subject 
to ulterior approval by the representatives of other subject 
Hapsburg peoples, but that the last four points were binding 
upon the Yugoslav Committee and the Italian Parliamentary 
Committee alike. The text ran: 

The representatives of the nationalities subject in whole or in 
part to the rule of Austria-Hungary agree in affirming the principles 
for their common action in the following manner — 

(1) Each people that aspires to establish its own nationality as a 
State unity, or to complete it, has an imprescriptible right to full 
political and economic independence. 

(2) Each of these peoples recognizes that the Austro-Hungarian 
Monarchy is the fundamental obstacle to the realization of its aspi- 
rations and of its rights. 

(3) Therefore these peoples undertake to help each other recip- 
rocally in the struggle against the common oppressor for their entire 
liberation so as to attain complete national unity in free and united 
States. 

The representatives of the Italian and Yugoslav peoples agree 
in particular as follows — 

(4) As regards the relations between the Italian nation and the 



PROPAGANDA 


186 


nation of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, also known by the joint name 
of the Yugoslav nation, the representatives of the two peoples recog- 
nize that the unity and independence of the Yugoslav nation is a vital 
interest of Italy just as the completion of Italian national unity is 
a vital interest of the Yugoslav nation. Therefore the representatives 
of the two peoples engage themselves to work wholeheartedly in order 
that, during the war and at the moment of peace, these objects may 
be entirely attained. 

(5) They affirm that the liberation of the Adriatic sea and its 
defence against every present and future enemy is a vital interest 
of the two peoples. 

(6) They engage themselves to settle amicably, in the interest 
of good and sincere relations in future between the two peoples, the 
various territorial controversies on the basis of the principle of 
nationality and of the right of peoples to determine their own 
destiny and in such manner as not to infringe vital interests of the 
two nations as they will be defined at the moment of peace. 

(7) The right to respect of their language, their culture and 
their moral and economic interests will be recognized and guaranteed 
to the groups of each people that may be included within the fron- 
tiers of the other. 

Every phrase, almost every word of this agreement — which 
became known as the " Pact of Rome ” after it had been 
ratified by the Rome Congress of the subject Austro-Hun- 
garian races in the following April — had been the subject 
of endless discussion. Though its terms were involved and 
general, they marked a turning point in the whole Allied situa- 
tion and supplied a peg on which important policies could be 
hung. But before this stage could be reached, there were im- 
portant developments in other directions. 

ENEMY PROPAGANDA 

Towards the middle of February, 1918, Northcliffe had asked 
me to see him at the “ British War Mission,” Crewe House, 
Curzon Street, which Lord Crewe had placed at the disposal 
of the Government. On returning to England from America, 
Northcliffe had set up in London a department to deal 
promptly with the recommendations of Lord Reading, who 
had succeeded him at Washington. At the suggestion of 
Sir William Tyrrell, the brilliant and resourceful official 



186 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


of the Foreign Office, who had been for many years private 
secretary to Sir Edward Grey, Northcliffe was, however, asked 
by Mr. Lloyd George also to take charge of propaganda 
against the enemy. The name of “ British War Mission ” 
was to cover the “Enemy Propaganda Department ” which 
was to work as a separate entity under the direct control of 
the Prime Minister, and be answerable only to Lord Beaver- 
brook’s Ministry of Information in respect of finance. North- 
cliffe asked my advice and said, at the same time, that he 
had also been offered the Secretaryship of State for War. I 
warned him not to accept ministerial office of any kind. His 
health was not good and I was convinced that, should he 
attempt to work with permanent officials in a Department of 
State, he would soon be irritated into resignation. But I 
advised his acceptance of the Directorship of propaganda 
against the enemy on condition that he should have a free 
hand in framing and, subject to the approval of the Govern- 
ment, in executing the policies on which his propaganda would 
have to be based. When he enquired what connection there 
was between policy and propaganda, I answered: 

“ The same connection as between news and newspapers. 
The futility of British propaganda hitherto has been due to 
its divorce from policy. It is no good dumping down literature 
in various parts of the world explaining what noble people we 
are and how immense has been our contribution to the war. 
That does not interest people. You have got to make up your 
mind where and how you can hit the enemy hardest and then 
to get to work and do it without talking about it. For 
that, there must be a policy ; and once it has been laid down 
and sanctioned it must be carried out by every available 
means.” 

“ Where would you begin? v 

“ There is only one place where anything serious can be 
done at once. Germany is, or thinks she is, on the top of 
the wave. Russia has collapsed, the Italian front has been 
smashed in, the British Army has been seriously weakened by 
the Passchendaele offensive, and a big German push is being 
prepared against it. It is no good telling the Germans of the 



PROPAGANDA 


187 


evil fate in store for them when they have been beaten. 
They still think they can beat us. The moment to worry the 
Germans will come when they see that they cannot win. 
Bulgaria, and Turkey too, will be impervious to propaganda 
as long as they think Germany is winning. The only way to 
cure them and Germany of that idea is to smash Austria. That 
could be done in a very short time if the proper policy were 
adopted. ,, 

“ Well, you wasted half your life there and you ought to 
know something about it. Will you make me a policy for 
Austria on a half sheet of notepaper? ” 

“ I shall want two half sheets,” I said. 

“ Take two half sheets but let me have it to-night,” North- 
cliffe replied. “ I have promised Balfour (then Foreign Secre- 
tary) to let him have my suggestions for the work of an 
Enemy Propaganda Department as soon as possible.” 

That evening I sent Northcliffe the following memorandum: 

There are two conceivable policies for the Department of Prop- 
aganda in Enemy Countries. They are — 

(a) To work for a separate peace with the [Austrian] Emperor, 
the Court, and the aristocracy, on the principle of not interfering 
with the domestic affairs of the Hapsburg Monarchy and of leaving 
its territory almost or quite intact; or 

(b) To try to break the power of Austria-Hungary, as the weak- 
est link in the chain of enemy States, by supporting and encouraging 
all anti-German and pro-Ally peoples and tendencies. 

The (a) policy has been tried without success. The Hapsburgs 
are not free agents. They have not the power, even though they 
may wish, to break away from Germany because — 

(1) They are controlled by the internal structure of their 
dominions (the Dual System) which gives Germany decisive leverage 
over them through the Germans of Austria and the Magyars of 
Hungary; and 

(2) Because the Allies cannot offer them acceptable terms with- 
out breaking with Italy. 

It remains to try the (b) policy. 

This policy is not primarily, or even, in the last resort, necessarily 
anti-Hapsburgian; it is not opposed to the interests of the Roman 
Catholic religion; and it is in harmony with the declared aims of 
the Allies. 

The Empire of Austria contains some 31,000,000 inhabitants. Of 



188 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

these, less than one third, i.e., the 9,000,000 or 10,000,000 Germans 
of Austria, are pro-German. The other two thirds (including the 
Poles, Czechoslovaks, Rumanes, Italians, and Southern Slavs) are 
actively or passively anti-German. 

The Kingdom of Hungary, including the “ autonomous ” Kingdom 
of Croatia-Slavonia, has a population of approximately 21,000,000 of 
which one half (Magyars, Jews, Saxons, and Swabians) may be con- 
sidered pro-German and the rest (Slovaks* Rumanes, and Southern 
Slavs) actively or passively anti-German. 

There are thus in Austria-Hungary as a whole some 31,000,000 
anti-Germans and some 21,000,000 pro-Germans. The pro-German 
minority rules the anti-German majority. Apart from questions of 
democratic principle, the policy of the Allies should evidently be to 
help and encourage the anti-Germans. 

Next day Northcliffe showed me the draft of a letter he had 
prepared for Mr. Balfour in which he had incorporated this 
memorandum, but lie asked me to specify means by which 
the anti-German elements in the Hapsburg Monarchy could 
be helped and encouraged. Therefore I added the following 
suggestions: 

(1) The Allied governments and the President of the United 
States should insist upon their determination to secure democratic 
freedom for the races of Austria-Hungary on the principle of “ gov- 
ernment by consent of the governed.” Expressions such as “ self-gov- 
ernment,” or “ autonomous development ” should be avoided, be- 
cause they have a sinister meaning in Austria-Hungary and tend to 
discourage the friends of the Allies. 

(2) For the same reasons, statements that the Allies do not 
wish to “ dismember Austria ” should be avoided. The war cannot 
be won without so radical a transformation of Austria-Hungary as to 
remove its peoples from German control. The Hapsburgs may be 
driven to help in this transformation if Allied encouragement of the 
anti-German Hapsburg peoples is effective. By themselves, the 
Hapsburgs cannot effect a transformation except in an increasingly 
pro-German sense. 

(3) For propaganda among the anti-German peoples the agencies 
already existing should be utilized. These agencies are chiefly the 
Bohemian (Czechoslovak) National Alliance, the Southern Slav 
Committee, and various Polish organizations. 

(4) The present tendency of the Italian Government to shelve 
the policy embodied in the London Treaty of the 26th April, 1915, 
and to adopt a policy of agreement with the anti-German races of 
Austria-Hungary should be encouraged and stimulated. 



PROPAGANDA 


189 


(5) The ultimate aim of Allied policy should be, not to form a 
number of small, disjointed States, but to create a non-German Con- 
federation of Central European and Danubian States. 

(6) The Germans of Austria should be free to join the Con- 
federated States of Germany. They would, in any case, tend to 
secede from a transformed Austria, in which they would no longer 
be able to rule over non-German peoples. 

The letter containing the memorandum and explanatory 
suggestions, together with some passages in which Northcliffe 
insisted upon the importance of making known to the enemy, 
through all available channels, accurate facts about the Ameri- 
can preparations, was sent to Mr. Balfour on February 24th. 
On my advice, Northcliffe also included in it the condition 
that, before making any beginning in any direction, he “ must 
be placed in possession of knowledge of the policy of the 
Allies as to the Dual Monarchy.” 

This condition, I felt, would bring matters to a head and 
make it clear whether anything serious could be done or not. 
On February 26th, Mr. Balfour replied: 

Your very lucid memorandum raises in one shape or another the 
fundamental problem of the Hapsburg Empire. A final and author- 
itative answer to the question you put to me can only be given 
(if given at all) by the Cabinet, speaking in the name of the Govern- 
ment. But I offer the following observations on the subject in the 
hope that they may help you in the immediate task for which you 
have been made responsible. 

If the two alternative policies of dealing with the Dual Monarchy 
set forth in your paper were mutually exclusive, and if they in- 
volved distinct and even opposite methods of propaganda, our 
position would be even more difficult than it is. For what we can 
do with the Austrian Empire does not wholly depend upon our 
wishes, but upon the success of our arms and the views of our 
Allies; and, as these elements in our calculations cannot be estimated 
with certainty, we should inevitably remain in doubt as to which 
of the two mutually exclusive methods of propaganda it would be 
judicious to adopt. 

Fortunately, however, our position is not quite so embarrassing. 
As you point out with unanswerable force, everything which en- 
courages the anti-German elements in the Hapsburg dominions really 
helps to compel the Emperor and the Court to a separate peace, 
and also diminishes the efficiency of Austria-Hungary as a member 



190 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


of the Middle Europe combination. The Emperor, by these means, 
might be induced, or compelled, fundamentally to modify the Con- 
stitution of his own State. If he refused to lend himself to such a 
policy, the strengthening of the non-German elements might bring 
about the same end even more effectually than if he lent his assistance 
to the process. But, in either case, the earlier stages of that process 
are the same, and a propaganda which aids the struggle of the 
nationalities, now subject either to Austrian Germans or to Magyar 
Hungarians, towards freedom and self-determination must be right, 
whether the complete break-up of the Austrian Empire or its de- 
Germanization under Hapsburg rule be the final goal of our efforts. 

Northcliffe handed me Mr. Balfour’s letter on the 27th 
saying that I must answer it because he knew nothing about 
Austria-Hungary and must make me responsible for the whole 
business. I was ready to take responsibility, though I knew 
that failure would probably be disastrous to me in every way ; 
and I could not help admiring Northcliffe’s willingness to put 
himself and his reputation in my hands in regard to a matter 
of which he knew little or nothing. Therefore I drafted the 
following answer to Mr. Balfour which Northcliffe sent the 
same day: 

Many thanks for your prompt reply to my letter. 

Why I am anxious that we should move as rapidly as possible is 
that the Italians believe that a strong Austrian or Austro-German 
offensive against Italy will be launched within the next two months. 
If our propaganda in Austria is to help to weaken this offensive, or 
to turn it into a defeat, it ought, in my judgment, to begin at once, 
and all the agencies we can command ought to be hard at work 
within a fortnight. 

The representative of the American Propaganda Department is 
in London. The Italian will be here next week, and we could no 
doubt have a French representative at the same time. 

As to the memorandum, I am very pleased that you are in sub- 
stantial agreement with the policy outlined. The two policies may 
not be mutually exclusive in the last resort, but it is very important 
that one or the other of them should be given absolute precedence. 
It would place me in an awkward predicament if, after basing vigor- 
ous propaganda on the (b) policy I were confronted with some 
manifestation of the (a) policy on the part of the British or other 
Allied Government. For this reason I hope that the War Cabinet 
will not delay its own decision, and that it will try to get a decision 
from France, Italy, and the United States as quickly as possible. 



PROPAGANDA 


191 


It goes without saying that public declarations on behalf of the 
British, French, and Italian governments, and, if possible, on the 
part of President Wilson in the sense of the (b) policy would, if 
promptly made, greatly facilitate my efforts. 

To this rejoinder there was no written reply; but the 
whole matter was discussed by the War Cabinet and a verbal 
ruling was communicated to us that we might go ahead on the 
lines of the (b) policy, that is to say the encouragement of 
the anti-German elements in the Plapsburg Monarchy, on con- 
dition that we did not promise independence to any of the 
Hapsburg peoples. When I heard of this restriction I felt 
that the War Cabinet was still under pro- Austrian influences 
and that it was taking from us with one hand much of what 
it appeared to be giving us with the other. Nevertheless, I 
advised Northcliffe that we should accept this restriction for 
the time being, and do our utmost within the limits laid 
down. 


TRUE PROPAGANDA 

The essential thing was to act quickly. Northcliffe agreed 
at once to call a preliminary inter-Allied propaganda confer- 
ence in London to consider ways and means. The French 
Government delegated M. Franklin-Bouillon, Italy sent 
Gallenga-Stuart, the head of her Propaganda Department, 
while the United States was represented by Mr. Robinette, 
an American delegate for propaganda in Northern Europe. 
But, as I was anxious that this first propaganda conference 
should be placed on a high level and that the members of the 
British Advisory Committee, which Lord Northcliffe pro- 
posed to form, should understand the nature of serious propa- 
ganda, I asked that M. Henri Moysset, chief private secretary 
to the French Minister of Marine, might also be sent. Moys- 
set, whom I had known for some years, had written in 1911 the 
ablest book on Germany (“ L’Esprit Public en Allemagne ”) 
that I had read in any language. He spoke German well, was 
a profound student of German philosophy, and was personally 
acquainted with the leading German soldiers and public men 
from the Emperor downwards. Some objections were raised in 



192 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


Paris to his coming; but he came. With him came also Lieu- 
tenant Tonnelat of the French Military propaganda section, 
a young French professor of German literature, whose achieve- 
ments in technical propaganda had been remarkable. 

Northcliffe, who was already suffering from an obstruction 
in the throat that was to necessitate a dangerous operation 
eighteen months later, opened the Conference but was unable 
to take part in its proceedings. He placed before it the corre- 
spondence with Mr. Balfour, and agreed to an Italian proposal 
that I should go on a special mission to Italy to coordinate 
propaganda against Austria. Apart from this decision the 
chief feature of the Conference was an improvised definition 
of “ propaganda ” by M. Henri Moysset. He insisted that the 
Allies must begin a war of ideas against Germany as a corol- 
lary of military resistance to her attack. Germany had made 
the idea of war acceptable to her own people by a generation 
of sedulous propaganda. Military defeat would not necessarily 
entail political defeat for Germany unless she were beaten 
also in the realm of ideas. He reminded those who thought 
this suggestion “ unpractical ” that German propaganda policy 
in Russia, of which the results had been so disastrous to the 
Allies since August, 1917, had been conceived and carried out 
by a metaphysician who had clearly foreseen the shattering 
effect of Bolshevist doctrine upon Russian minds. In view 
of the military position, Allied propaganda must aim, on the 
one hand, at quick results and, on the other, at the trans- 
formation of the state of mind prevailing in enemy countries. 
Therefore it should be directed in the first place against 
Austria-Hungary and be based upon the aspirations of the 
subject Hapsburg races without forgetting that even among 
the Magyars there were potentially anti-Hapsburg elements. 
Propaganda against Germany would then be possible, and its 
efficacy would be proportionate to the degree in which it were 
based upon the state of things created by the war and not 
upon pre-war ideas and conditions. 

Hitherto, Moysset continued, the Allies had employed 
against Germany oratorical manoeuvres, to which the German 
people was totally refractory. Speech-making diplomacy by 



PROPAGANDA 


193 


Allied statesmen ignorant of the German mentality was dan- 
gerous, not only because the enemy governments were able 
to place the declarations of Allied statesmen before enemy 
peoples in a garbled form, but because the enemy had at their 
disposal numbers of men sufficiently Westernized and Latinized 
to suit their counter-declarations to a Western public and to 
trouble the spirit of Western countries. The outcome of an 
oratorical duel upon a point of international law between 
Professor Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, 
and Professor Count Hertling, the German Imperial Chan- 
cellor, could not be predicted with complete certainty of 
victory for the Allied champion. 

Allied propaganda should insist upon enemy responsibility 
for the war. After having kept this argument to the front 
for two years the Allies had allowed it to fall into the back- 
ground. So frightened by it had the Germans been, that they 
had falsified documents and moved heaven and earth to 
weaken the Allied cause. So great was their anxiety that, 
when the idea of an International Socialist Conference at 
Stockholm had been launched, the German Majority Socialists 
made it an in/dispensable condition that the question of 
responsibility for the war should not be discussed; and when 
the Russian Revolution threw open the Russian archives, 
advantage was taken of every document that could be used 
to cast doubt on the purity of the Allies' motives. Herr von 
Kiihlmann thought it a triumph of his psychological diplomacy 
that this fundamental issue should have been allowed by the 
Allies to fall into the background. It must now be revived 
and kept constantly to the fore, if only because the bulk of 
the German people were, in their heart of hearts, convinced 
that the guilt of the war lay upon Germany. 

Similarly, Allied propaganda must insist that, after the war, 
Germans and Austro-Hungarians would have to face moral 
ostracism in the civilized world until atonement had been 
made. It must be shown that Prussianism constitutes a moral 
anachronism in the modern world. At the same time the 
Allies must confront the Germans with a positive formulation 
of public right and of the Law of Nations superior to the 



194 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


German conception of a Kultur ” It would not be enough 
merely to make fun of “ Kultur” for it had a very real and 
positive meaning for the Germans and for the peoples with 
whom they are most immediately in contact, such as the 
Poles, the Czechs, and the Southern Slavs. These peoples, and 
the Germans themselves, must be convinced that the Allies 
have an equally positive but a more exalted conception of 
the political and social organization of Europe, fit to supersede 
the German conception. 

For this purpose the Allies should take up the Principle 
of Nationality and the history of the Doctrine of Nationality 
as established by the English, American, and French revolu- 
tions, and by British Constitutional Law, and as worked out 
with great fullness by Italian jurisconsults between 1850 and 
1870. During the last twenty years, writers on International 
Law had departed from this liberal doctrine and had embraced 
the Prussian conception to the extent of denying that the 
Principle of Nationality could justify any interference by one 
State in the affairs of another. 

The attempt to define and clarify these ideas would compel 
the Allies to frame a positive conception of the future political 
and moral reconstruction of Europe, and to make up their 
minds as to the place of Germany in a reconstructed Europe. 
Thus they would have to put before neutrals and before the 
German people a forecast of the position which Germany 
would hold; and they would compel the German people to 
consider whether it would be worth while to continue the war, 
with all its perils, for the sake of a problematical mastery over 
Europe and the world. 

The outcome of the war should be, in effect, a political 
verdict for or against one of two incompatible conceptions 
of the State and of society — the Prussian conception or the 
Western Democratic conception. Peoples, and the nation- 
alities in process of formation in Central Europe and in 
Russia, which would eventually be called upon to choose 
between and to support the one conception or the other, should 
at least know clearly what alternatives there are. 

This work of clarification and definition would be necessary 



PROPAGANDA 


195 


even in regard to the United States where the character of 
European problems is but dimly perceived. In one of Presi- 
dent Wilson's own works all the references to European writers 
were to German authors. He was unaware of, or ignored, the 
large amount of valuable work done by French, British, and 
Italian writers on politics and State jurisprudence. 

Many elements in Germany herself would be accessible to 
propaganda of this kind, that is to say those elements in 
Saxony, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and the Rhenish provinces, 
which are not irremediably Prussianized or could be de- 
Prussianized were it clear that war for Prussian ends is not 
a remunerative enterprise. Among these elements the Jews 
should not be forgotten. They control the banks, the press, 
the theatres, and many forms of literature. They had been 
pro-Prussian because they believed in the profitable success 
of Prussian ideas and methods. Were they to doubt that 
success, their loyalty to Prussianism would tend to decrease. 

Allied propaganda ought no longer to neglect the mass of 
material against Prussian militarism to be found in German 
speeches and writings from 1848 onward. In the past, German 
denunciations and definitions of Prussian militarism had been 
much more effective and pertinent than anything yet produced 
by Allied writers. They should be unearthed and utilized. 
An Allied committee for the provision of propaganda material 
in regard to the most important questions raised by the war 
ought therefore to be formed at once. It should be a kind 
of Thinking General Staff for the strategy of ideas and should 
not be concerned with the production of mere propaganda 
leaflets. It should arrange for a small series of powerful 
studies, scientifically conceived and going to the bottom of 
things, so as to appeal seriously to the intellectual classes in 
Germany. These should deal, for instance, with a new law 
of nations, with the economic organization of the world, with 
the working of a league of nations, and cognate subjects. 
They could be made known to the German public by means 
of the leading organs of the Swiss, Scandinavian, and Dutch 
press, some Of which had already offered the Allies a free 
tribune for the discussion of constructive Allied ideas. 



196 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


Hitherto the Germans alone had availed themselves of this 
free tribune. The Allies had done little or nothing, because 
they had no concerted policy and no positive and aggressive 
ideas to put forward. This inferiority must cease and, at the 
same time, the great organs of the Allied press should under- 
take a concerted offensive with the object of propagating 
the political and economic principles of which the rulers of 
Germany were most afraid. 

Moysset made this remarkable statement with the help of 
a few notes hastily jotted down. I translated it paragraph 
by paragraph for the benefit of the Conference; and as no 
stenographer was present, I afterwards dictated it from 
memory in response to a general request, Moysset recognizing 
the accuracy of the reproduction. It was the first time that 
a serious definition of “ propaganda ” had been formulated in 
any Allied country. The Conference resolved that Moysset, 
Professor Borgesc, and I should form the nucleus of a 
“ Thinking General Staff ” and that we should meet regularly 
in Paris to organize and coordinate Allied propaganda. Un- 
fortunately, the jealousy of Moysset's intellectual preeminence 
that was shown in some French quarters prevented the full 
development of this work; and, in the meantime, the mission 
to Italy with which the Conference had entrusted me was an 
even more urgent task. 

MY MISSION TO ITALY 

I accepted the mission provisionally on two conditions. 
One was that the Italo-Yugoslav negotiations then in progress 
should lead to an agreement, and the other that I should be 
allowed to choose my associates. I suggested that Seton- 
Watson should accompany me, as an expert on Austria- 
Hungary, and that he should help to organize the Rome Con- 
gress of the subject Hapsburg Races — which would be our 
first great act of inter- Allied propaganda — while I was super- 
vising the work on the Italian front. This was warmly agreed 
to by Gallenga-Stuart on behalf of the Italian Government. 
I chose also Signor Guglielmo Emanuel, the London corre- 



PROPAGANDA 


197 


spondent of the Corriere della Sera , as Italian secretary be- 
cause he had been active in helping to promote an Italo- 
Yugoslav agreement. As military member of the mission I 
took (on the recommendation of General Sir George Mac- 
donogh, the Director of British Military Intelligence) Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Granville Baker who, as a young officer, had 
held a temporary commission in a German Hussar regiment 
and had, in that capacity, studied the Austro-Hungarian Army 
from within. On the outbreak of the South African War he 
had rejoined the British Army and, between 1902 and 1914, he 
had been frequently employed on Intelligence service by the 
War Office. His war record was excellent and he had recently 
been given leave on account of wounds and trench fever. 

When the Italo-Yugoslav agreement, or “ Pact of Rome,” 
had been signed on March 7th, I prepared to start, the actual 
date of departure being fixed for March 19th so as to allow 
me to make technical arrangements at the Italian front for 
the dissemination of the resolutions of the Rome Congress 
which was to meet on April 8th. We were given diplomatic 
passports and military “ movement orders.” Our baggage was 
deposited at Victoria Station on the afternoon of March 18th 
in readiness for the 7 a.m. military train on the morrow, when 
at 5 p.m. Northcliffe sent for me. I found him in a state of 
suppressed rage. 

“ We are in a nice mess! ” he exclaimed. “ Why did you 
choose Seton-Watson as a member of your mission? The 
Italian Government protests against his going.” 

“ The Italian Government agreed very cordially to his going 
before he was appointed,” I replied. “ I chose him because, 
next to me, he has greater knowledge of Austria-Hungary than 
any living British subject”; and, in some ways, his knowledge 
is more detailed even than mine. 

“ Well, he can’t go, that’s all,” said Northcliffe angrily. 
“ You understand, he must not go.” 

“ If he must not go, he won’t go,” I said. “ Have his military 
superiors stopped him? ” 

“ No. It’s Balfour. He writes me that the Italian Am- 
bassador, Imperiali, has protested formally against Seton- 



198 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Watson and has said that on account of his hostility to the 
Treaty of London his presence in Italy would be regarded 
as a provocation. So Balfour has asked me to stop him.” 

“ Good,” I said. “ Hornet number one. You will be stung 
pretty often before this business is over.” 

“ What do you mean? ” Northcliffe asked. 

“ This,” I answered. “ Perhaps without knowing it, you 
have put your nose into one of the largest hornets’ nests 
in the world. There are Jew hornets, Jesuit hornets, British 
snob hornets, pro-German hornets, and others besides. And 
they can all sting.” 

“ Well, what are you going to do? ” 

“ As this is probably an attempt to delay me, I &m going 
to start at 7 a.m. to-morrow without Seton- Watson.” 

“ It’s a pretty kettle of fish,” was Northcliffe’s parting 
remark. 

When I told Seton- Watson what had happened he was 
furious. He put it down to an Italian intrigue against him 
and was disgusted that Northcliffe should have submitted to 
Balfour’s injunction. I thought there was more in it than we 
could guess, but I was determined not to let it delay the 
Mission. Before starting next morning I wrote, however, to 
Northcliffe warning him that the embargo on Seton-Watson 
was probably a blow struck by an unseen hand against his 
propaganda and that, if my surmise were correct, it would not 
be the last. I promised him to do my best, but said that 
it might be impossible to succeed unless I were supported 
from home. 

We reached Paris on the morning of March 20th after an 
all-night journey from Boulogne in a cold railway compart- 
ment with broken windows. During the forenoon I called 
upon Franklin-Bouillon to hear what arrangements had been 
made for the Rome Congress on April 8th. Things seemed 
to be going smoothly; but he said: 

“ Haven’t you got in your Mission an officer who was once 
in the German Army? ” 

“ Certainly,” I answered. “ Colonel Granville Baker, who, 
as you know, was chosen during the Inter-Allied Propaganda 



PROPAGANDA 199 

Conference in London on the recommendation of the British 
Director of Military Intelligence.” 

“ Well,” said Franklin-Bouillon, “ I fancy he is suspect. 
If I were you, I should see Clemenceau about him.” 

“ Why should I bother Clemenceau? ” I asked. “ The whole 
thing is clear. Granville Baker’s papers have been issued by 
the War Office, and we are all travelling on a War Office 
movement order.” 

At midday, when Moysset and Tonnelat lunched with me, 
I mentioned Franklin-Bouillon’s remarks. Both Moysset and 
Tonnelat ridiculed them. Tonnelat asked me to bring Gran- 
ville Baker to the “ Deuxieme Bureau,” the French Military 
Intelligence Department, that afternoon in order that he 
might be presented to his Chief, Colonel Gourguenne. Ton- 
nelat said that the technical appliances I needed were prac- 
tically ready and that a French engineer officer would be 
appointed to accompany my Mission to Italy. 

At 5 p.m. I took Granville Baker to the “ Deuxieme 
Bureau,” and asked for Tonnelat. Presently he appeared, with 
a long face. 

“ Franklin-Bouillon was right,” he said. “ Colonel Gran- 
ville Baker has been denounced as suspect by telephone from 
London because he once served in the German Army. My 
Colonel [Gourguenne] refuses to see him. It is a very serious 
matter.” 

“Who denounced him?” I asked. 

“ That I do not know,” said Tonnelat, “ but you had better 
see the head of the British Military Mission in Paris, 
Brigadier-General Spears.” 

Fortunately, I knew General Spears, who was a friend of 
Northcliffe. Granville Baker and I drove at once to his office. 
When I told him our errand he seemed perturbed, though he 
did not admit previous knowledge of the affair. However, he 
knew Granville Baker. After a time he said: 

“ I think you had better see Clemenceau [who was Minister 
of War as well as Prime Minister]. Do you know him? ” 

“ Yes, I know him well. But you must make the appoint- 
ment.” 



200 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


General Spears hesitated. 

“ This is a very serious business, General,” I continued. 
11 1 am here on an urgent offical mission and this officer has 
been given me by General Sir George Macdonogh, the Director 
of our Military Intelligence. Unless the matter is cleared up 
within twenty-four hours, I shall return to London, inform 
Northcliffe, and decline to proceed further. You know North - 
cliffe. There will be trouble. If the best thing is for me to 
see Clemenceau, will you kindly make the appointment? ” 

In five minutes the appointment was made by telephone 
for 10 a.m. next morning, March 21st. When I entered 
Clemenceau’s room at the Ministry of War he rose and greeted 
me gravely. I did not then know that the great German 
offensive had begun at dawn or that the British lines had been 
forced back. 

“ What can I do for you? ” Clemenceau asked. 

“ I am here on my way to Italy as the head oi an official 
Mission sanctioned by the British Government,” I said. “ My 
object is to begin active propaganda against the Austro- 
Hungarian Army in Italy so as to forestall, if possible, an 
offensive. A member of my Mission, who has been allotted 
to me by the Director of British Military Intelligence, has 
now been denounced as suspect through some channel unknown 
to me ” 

“ Were you wise to take a fellow who was once in the 
German Army? ” Clemenceau interrupted. 

"Would you have had me take an ignoramus, M. le 
President? ” I returned. "That is the very reason why I 
took him, and also because he is one of the very few British 
officers who have studied the Austro-Hungarian Army from 
the inside.” 

" Do you go bail for him? ” 

“ Since General Macdonogh went bail for him, I go bail 
for him.” 

" Then what do you want from me? ” 

" Three lines of ukase from you: 1 Steed, whom I know, is 
on an important Mission. He and the members of his Mission 
are to receive all help from the French Military authorities. 



PROPAGANDA 201 

Any officers and appliances they need are to be given to 
them.' ” 

Clemenceau rang for his secretary, who wrote the ukase. 
Clemenceau signed it and told the secretary to take me to 
the head of his Military Cabinet, General Mordacq, with 
orders to pass me on to the proper military quarters. But 
before I could leave the room a door opened behind Clemen- 
ceau's chair and General Foch, the Chief of General Staff, 
appeared with a map in his hands. He spread it out before 
Clemenceau, placing his finger on certain points. 

“ Your people have given ground," exclaimed Clemenceau, 
looking almost angrily towards me. 

“ They will retake it," I retorted. 

Clemenceau rose from his chair, shook my hand warmly 
and said: 

“ Get off as fast as you can. You have not an hour to 
lose. An Austrian offensive in Italy is due to begin on April 
10th. If you are going to do anything, you must be quick." 

From General Mordacq I learned something of the big 
battle that was raging and of the overwhelming strength of 
the German offensive. The strain which it put upon the 
French General Staff prevented me from making my arrange- 
ments as quickly as I had hoped, and I found it would be 
impossible to leave Paris before the evening of Saturday, 
March 23rd. I took advantage of the interval to confer with 
the Italian representative on the Inter-Allied Military Council 
at Versailles, to see Dr. Benes and also M. Dinowski, the head 
of the Polish National Committee, and to attend a special 
meeting of the Polish, Yugoslav, Czechoslovak, and Rumane 
representatives at which a propaganda manifesto to the 
Austro-Hungarian troops was drawn up. 

“big bertha" 

Two French engineer officers, skilled in the use of rockets, 
rifle grenades, and shells for the distribution of leaflets, were 
to join me on the afternoon of the 23rd. Fortunately, I had 
left little to do on that day. Otherwise I might not have 



202 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

been able to leave Paris at all. At 7:30 a.m., an air raid 
alarm was sounded. All shutters were closed and people 
rushed to the cellars of their houses or hotels. From time 
to time the sound of a dull explosion could be heard; but, 
though the sky was cloudless, no German aircraft were to be 
seen. French airmen scoured the heavens for them without 
result. Still the explosions continued at intervals of about 
fifteen minutes, not loud like those of the bombs dropped 
on London, but long reverberating noises, as though planks 
were falling from a high scaffolding on to a street pavement. 

Towards 11 a.m. I walked through the empty streets to the 
British Embassy and sat for a while with the Ambassador, 
Lord Bertie, who was anxious to hear of my mission and to 
discuss arrangements for the prompt transmission of messages. 
He was a great diplomatist, a man of courage and character, 
for whom I felt affectionate admiration. While we were talk- 
ing, an explosion was heard near the Embassy garden, but 
again it was not the usual sound of a bomb. I left the 
Embassy to lunch with a friend but found his wife and family 
in the cellar. During luncheon at a neighbouring restaurant 
and throughout the whole afternoon the explosions continued. 
At 6 p.m. Granville Baker and I were ready to start for the 
Gare de Lyon but we could find no trace of Emanuel. Pres- 
ently he turned up breathless, having been kept all day at 
the French Foreign Office for a visa to his Italian passport 
because the entire staff had been confined to the cellars on 
account of the “ air raid.” Granville Baker was sceptical 
about the raid. He had examined a hole made in the Tuileries 
Gardens by a “ bomb ” and had picked up some of the 
splinters; and he maintained they were not bomb splinters at 
all but fragments of a long thick shell. At the Gare de Lyon 
we got a copy of the Temps which stated that, in the opinion 
of French artillery experts, Paris was being bombarded by a 
long-range gun apparently from a distance of more than sixty 
miles. 

March 23rd was, indeed, the first day of “ Big Bertha’s ” 
activity. Until then the existence of a gun with a range of 



PROPAGANDA 


203 


100 kilometres had not been suspected. It did little material 
damage, but it upset my arrangements to the extent of pre- 
venting the French engineer officers from joining me until 
later. Therefore Granville Baker, Emanuel, and I started 
alone. A few minutes before leaving the hotel a telegram 
from Northcliffe had reached me. It ran, “ Misunderstanding 
about Seton-Watson now cleared up. He can join you if you 
wish,” and I wired instructions for him to meet me in Rome. 
Apparently my surmise had been correct. An embargo had 
been put on him in the hope that I should postpone my 
departure in order to have it removed ; and when it was found 
that I had nevertheless started, Granville Baker was secretly 
denounced as “ suspect ” in order to delay me in Paris. Upon 
the origin of these intrigues I mused much, as I stood in the 
corridor of the overcrowded train that bore us southward. 
Their purpose, at any rate, was clear. It was to prevent 
effective propaganda against Austria-Hungary. 

When the train reached Dijon we found the railway station 
packed with panic-stricken people whom the news of the 
bombardment of Paris had convinced that the Germans were 
at the gates of the capital. We did our best to reassure them; 
and, after thirty hours’ travelling in great discomfort, we 
reached Milan towards 2 a.m. on Monday morning, March 
25th. There the bombardment of Paris and the German 
advance towards Amiens had caused serious alarm. Senator 
Albertini of tho 'Corriere della Sera was so anxious that no time 
should be lost in starting propaganda against Austria that he 
insisted on my going straight to Rome in order to get explicit 
authority from the Prime Minister, Orlando. Were I to go 
first to Italian military headquarters near Padua, he declared, 
I should be delayed, since the Comraander-in-Chief, General 
Diaz, would do nothing unless his responsibility were covered 
by instructions from the Prime Minister. I took Albertini’s 
advice, sent Granville Baker, and a French Engineer officer 
who had joined us, to Padua, and started with Emanuel for 
Rome where Orlando gave me the following letter to General 
Diaz. 



204 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


March 27, 1918. 

I have the pleasure to present to you Mr. Steed, the eminent 
journalist of The Times and our tried and trusted friend. He is 
coming [to Headquarters] to do good and useful work, concerted 
with me, and I am sure that your Excellency will do all in your 
power to help him. 

Signor Nitti, the Minister of the Treasury, also recom- 
mended me warmly to General Diaz. Thus accredited, I 
went to Padua on March 29th, and reported myself to General 
Delme-Radcliffe, the head of the British Military Mission, 
who presented me to General Diaz. As Albertini had pre- 
dicted, the attitude of Diaz changed after he had read my 
letters from Orlando and Nitti. He entered into the spirit 
of my mission and instructed his Chief of Staff, General 
Badoglio, to summon a full council of the Intelligence officers 
from the six Italian armies for March 30th. 

THE TURNING POINT 

At this council, General Badoglio asked me to explain the 
general objects of my mission. Having done this, I asked that 
the Italian Intelligence Officers should state their views as 
to the best means of breaking the cohesion of the Austrian 
front. All of them agreed that the only way to produce an 
immediate effect would be for the various National Committees 
of the subject Hapsburg races to proclaim the political in- 
dependence of those races, and for the proclamations to be 
expressly authorized by the British, French, and Italian Gov- 
ernments. Anything short of that, they said, would be merely 
scratching the surface; and if, as they had reason to believe, 
an Austrian offensive were due within eleven days, there was 
not a moment to be lost. 

Thus I was put in a tight place. I, too, was convinced 
that nothing short of proclamations of independence, duly 
authorized by the Allied governments, could really affect the 
position; but that was the very thing which the British War 
Cabinet had forbidden Northcliffe to do. So I told the In- 
telligence officers that I agreed with them but that I had been 



PROPAGANDA 205 

forbidden to sanction promises of independence to the subject 
Hapsburg races. 

“ Then there is nothing to be done,” they replied in 
despondent chorus. 

“ Wait a bit, gentlemen,” I said. “ If you can give me 
forty-eight hours, I will see if something cannot be done. In 
view of the German offensive, it may be possible to have this 
restriction removed. Meanwhile, let us go ahead and prepare 
leaflets on the assumption that it will be removed.” 

General Badoglio concurred. He ordered the Intelligence 
Officers to submit, within twenty-four hours, draft leaflets in 
the languages of the Austro-Hungarian troops on the fronts 
of their respective Italian armies, so that, on receipt of 
authorization, these leaflets might be printed by the million 
and made ready for distribution by runners, rifle grenades, 
rockets, and aeroplanes. I supplied the draft proclamation 
written by the representatives of the subject races in Paris, 
and submitted a telegram to M. Clemenceau asking for the 
delivery at Padua by April 6th of 20,000 French rifle grenades 
specially made to contain leaflets. General Badoglio for his 
part ordered the output of Italian rockets for the distribution 
of leaflets to be increased from 500 to 4,000 a day. 

Returning then to the British Military Mission, where 
General Delme-Radcliffe had kindly lodged me and my asso- 
ciates, I sent an urgent telegram to Northcliffe saying that, 
in all the circumstances, it was essentia! that the British War 
Cabinet should authorize, without delay, proclamations of 
Czechoslovak, Polish, Southern Slav, and Rumane inde- 
pendence. So promptly did Northcliffe act that I received the 
assent of the British War Cabinet within thirty-six hours. 
Having informed General Badoglio to this effect, I returned 
to Rome and, through the French Embassy, telegraphed to 
M. Clemenceau asking for his assent also. Meanwhile, the 
British Ambassador in Paris, acting on instructions from the 
War Cabinet through the Foreign Office, had already asked 
for the assent of the French Government. . Clemenceau gave 
it immediately and informed me through the French Embassy 
in Rome. I received his reply half an hour after getting 



206 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


news of his assent through the British Ambassador in Rome 
— proof that official diplomacy can, on occasion, work smartly. 

In the meantime, I made an urgent appeal to Sonnino also 
to assent to the proclamations. I felt that, unless his opposi- 
tion were overcome, the whole business might be held up until 
too late. We had a long and strenuous interview of which the 
upshot was that he agreed to the proclamations of inde- 
pendence but was unwilling to have it stated that the Italian 
Government “ recognized ” them. Still, half a loaf being 
better than no bread, I sent to Italian Headquarters at Padua 
instructions for the distribution of the leaflets to begin at 
once. Thus we saved precious time. By April 7th, three 
days before the expected Austrian offensive, the distribution 
of independence leaflets was in full swing along the whole 
front. Upon their effect I cannot dogmatize. I know only 
that, according to information obtained in Italy and subse- 
quently confirmed from Austrian sources through the British 
Intelligence Service in Switzerland, this propaganda, rein- 
forced by the resolutions of the Rome Congress of April 8th, 
compelled the Austro-Hungarian Command to remove the 
Slav troops from the front line and to replace them by 
Austrian-German and Magyar “ storm ” troops, which were 
being held in readiness for the offensive. These latter troops, 
the only unconditionally trustworthy elements in the Austro- 
Hungarian Army, were immediately subjected to severe bom- 
bardment from the Allied lines. The military advantages of 
upsetting the enemy plans and of wearing down the trust- 
worthy enemy troops, seem thus to have been obtained. In 
any case, the offensive expected on April 10th did not take 
place, and we were given time to prepare for further 
operations. 

Before leaving the front to attend the Rome Congress, I 
had visited the British Headquarters at Lonedo, on the invita- 
tion of General Lord Cavan who had succeeded General Sir 
Herbert Plumer in command of the British Divisions in Italy. 
I found Lord Cavan installed in an old and half-dismantled 
Italian chateau where, by the light of a candle stuck in the 
neck of a bottle, we discussed propaganda. He confessed 



PROPAGANDA 


207 

frankly that he knew nothing about it and asked me what we 
hoped to do. I said we hoped, at least, to save the lives of 
a few hundred British Tommies, which would be worth doing. 
He agreed; but asked how. I reminded him of the political 
officers on the Northwest frontier of India and said that, just 
as their work saved lives, so we hoped to save lives in Italy. 
“ Whom have you got against you here? ” I continued. 

“ Austrians and Hungarians,” answered Lord Cavan. 

" That tells me nothing,” I said. “ Where do they come 
from? Are they Austrian Germans, or Czechs, or Poles, or 
Slovaks, or Slovenes, or Magyars, or Croats, or Rumanes, or 
Italians, or Ruthenes? ” 

“ Blowed if I know,” was the reply. 

“ On the Indian frontier, when some of the tribes are 1 up ’ 
against us, and the political officers have, sooner or later, to 
deal with them, do they handle all the various sorts of Pathan, 
the friendly and the unfriendly, in the same way. Do they 
not treat, say the Afridis, in one way, the Zakka-Khels in 
another, the Mohmands in another, to say nothing of the 
Waziris? ” 

“ Certainly,” said Lord Cavan. “ But what has that to do 
with this business? ” 

“ The Austro-Hungarian Army,” I answered, “ is recruited 
from some nine different tribes, most of which speak a different 
language and have different political ideas. Of these tribes, 
let us say that seven are actually or potentially friendly and 
that two are vigorously hostile. We propose to leave the hostile 
tribes alone or, rather, to leave you to deal with them ; and we 
propose to tell the friendly tribes that we are their friends 
and that, if they will behave like friends, we mean to help 
them to get what they want. Do you twig? ” 

“ It sounds very interesting,” Lord Cavan returned. “ You 
must talk to Mitchell, my Chief Intelligence officer, about it. 
By the way, could you not get somebody to write for us a 
sort of child’s guide to the Austro-Hungarian Army? We 
don’t know anything about all these ‘ Yugoslovaks ’ and 
1 Czechoslavs.’ ” 



208 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

I promised to see what could be done and went off to find 
the chief Intelligence officer. 

“ Jolly glad you’ve come,” said Colonel Mitchell, a splendid 
Irishman from Toronto. “ I’ve been wanting to do something 
of this sort ever since we came here, but Plumer wouldn’t hear 
of it. He used to say, ‘ No, Mitchell, it isn’t fair. We must 
fight these fellows.’ Did you ever hear anything more British 
than that? ” exclaimed Mitchell with a laugh. 

But Mitchell himself could not tell me exactly how the 
Austro-Hungarian divisions on the British front were com- 
posed. He thought the French might know. So back I went 
to French Headquarters where I found Colonel Jouvain, the 
French Chief of Staff, as much in the dark as Mitchell him- 
self. He thought Italian General Headquarters might know. 
Therefore I went farther back to Abano near Padua, where, 
after rummaging through several Italian military depart- 
ments in succession, I found an officer who did know. He 
told me that one of the “ Austrian ” divisions on the British 
front contained forty per cent, of Slovenes from Laibach or 
Lubljana. (These might be susceptible to Southern Slav 
propaganda in the Slovene language.) A “Hungarian” 
division, also on the British front, contained eighty-five per 
cent, of Rumanes from Transylvania, and another “ Hun- 
garian ” division, opposed to the French, consisted entirely of 
Croats from Croatia. The Austrian and Hungarian divisions 
on the Italian front were equally composite. Thus it became 
possible to graduate our propaganda and to avoid the mistake 
of distributing, for instance, Croat leaflets among Polish troops 
or Czech leaflets among Rumanes. Seton-Watson and I after- 
wards wrote the “ child’s guide ” to the Austro-Hungarian 
Army for the benefit of British and Allied officers in Italy, so 
that they might at least know the names of the races compos- 
ing it. 


THE ROME CONGRESS 

A Central Inter-Allied Commission was formed at Italian 
Headquarters to conduct our propaganda. An Italian officer 



PROPAGANDA 


209 


presided over it, Colonel Granville Baker, a French officer, 
and delegates from the Southern Slav, Czechoslovak, and 
Polish National committees were attached to it. But neither 
the Commission nor any of us would have made much impres- 
sion on the enemy had not the Rome Congress of the subject 
Hapsburg peoples proved to be an unqualified success. Up 
to the last moment the possibility of holding it had been in 
doubt. Trumbitch, before consenting to come to Italy, had 
demanded that some offensive references to the Southern, Slavs, 
made by the former Italian Prime Minister, Signor Boselli, 
should be publicly withdrawn; but Boselli could not be got at 
in time. Seton-Watson, who had .reached Rome! after a 
variegated journey from London, telegraphed a vigorous 
wigging to Trumbitch whom Professor Borgese finally put into 
the train in Paris almost by main force. On Sunday, April 
7th, the delegates reached Rome, Trumbitch, Bene§, and 
Stefanik being among them. Franklin-Bouillon came as the 
chief French delegate, Albert Thomas being also present. 
The Polish Delegation included M. Skirmunt, afterwards Pol- 
ish Foreign Minister, while the Rumanian Parliament and the 
Transylvanian Rumanes were both represented. The Serbian 
Parliament sent a deputation of twelve of its members, and 
the Yugoslav division at Salonika a delegation of officers. 
When the success of the Congress was assured and it was clear 
that the Torre-Trumbitch “ Pact of Rome ” would be inte- 
grally adopted, the Italian public men who had promoted the 
Congress were anxious that some member of the Italian Gov- 
ernment should take part in the final proceedings. Therefore 
they asked me, as an old friend of Sonnino, to beg him either 
to attend the Congress himself or to sanction the presence at 
it of some Italian minister, preferably the Vice-Premier, Bis- 
solati, who was in complete sympathy with its objects. Though 
I had already made a similar request to Sonnino without suc- 
cess, I undertook this final mission and saw him at his house. 
Once more we thrashed out the whole question. At one mo- 
ment he was almost persuaded to accompany me to the Capi- 
tol where the Congress was sitting, and I have sometimes 
thought that, had I been a little firmer with him, I might have 



210 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


carried him off in triumph. But he implored me not to push 
him too hard and said: 

“ I do not accuse you of having invented the Southern Slav 
question in order to bother me, for what you are saying to-day 
you wrote in your ‘ Hapsburg Monarchy 1 in 1913. But I wish 
it did not exist. Though I could not altogether approve of this 
Congress before it met, and thought it would not succeed, I 
have done nothing to prevent it from meeting, and I recognize 
that it has succeeded. But I cannot, without weakening my 
own position, sanction the attendance at it of any other Italian 
minister. If you speak this afternoon you may say that 1 all 
Italian statesmen now in office, without exception, are in hearty 
sympathy with the aims of the Congress and desire its suc- 
cess/ I feel that I am a truer friend of the subject Hapsburg 
peoples than many who to-day openly proclaim their friend- 
ship, and that the moment will come when I shall make to 
them concessions which I should perhaps be entitled not to 
make. But it is contrary to my character to run after popu- 
larity, and to seem to exploit manifestations with which the 
Government has not been officially associated from the out- 
set. Besides, I should compromise the Government and expose 
it to attacks from various quarters were I publicly to tear up 
the Treaty of London, the only 1 scrap of paper 1 that exists 
to-day between Italy and her Allies.” 

After the chief delegates of the various countries and races 
had spoken at the final sitting, and I was asked to speak on 
behalf of England, I made the declaration which Sonnino had 
authorized. It was received with acclamation as a sign that 
the resistance of the Italian Foreign Office to a policy incom- 
patible with the Treaty of London had almost disappeared and 
that propaganda against Austria-Hungary could therefore go 
forward without hindrance. 

This interpretation was premature, as the event was to 
prove; and, in any case, Sonnino’s declaration was not explicit 
enough to serve as an official Italian endorsement of the 
policy of independence for the subject Hapsburg peoples. 
On the morrow, when the Italian Prime Minister, Orlando, 



PROPAGANDA 


211 


received the chief delegates to the Congress and associated 
himself with its resolutions, I asked him, therefore, whether his 
acceptance of the resolutions and of the “ Pact of Rome ” 
might be taken as the bestowal of Italian official sanction upon 
the declarations of independence made by the National Com- 
mittees of the oppressed Austro-Hungarian nationalities. He 
replied affirmatively. Thus we were able to push on our 
propaganda with the official authority of the British, French, 
and Italian governments. 

HOMEWARD BOUND 

From Rome I returned once more to the Italian front, helped 
to complete the organization of the Central Inter-Allied Com- 
mission, saw Lord Cavan again and took part in another 
Conference with the Intelligence Officers of the Italian armies. 
General Diaz, the Commander-in-Chief, thanked me warmly 
for the work the Mission had done, and promised to give our 
propaganda every support. On April 20th, Seton-Watson, 
Emanuel, and I left for Paris, Granville Baker remaining 
to help in carrying on the work. Unfortunately, hitches soon 
occurred and it became clear that, once the danger of an imme- 
diate Austrian offensive had been removed, the Italian author- 
ities were by no means as whole-hearted as they had appeared 
to be at the beginning of April. Nevertheless, the propaganda 
went on and steadily undermined the cohesion of the Austro- 
Hungarian Army. 

In Paris I learned something of the sequel to the intrigues 
against my Mission. General Spears assured me that, had 
I not been personally acquainted with Clemenceau and had I 
spoken French less fluently, I should never have got away 
from Paris at all in March ; or, had I got away, so strong an 
atmosphere of suspicion would have surrounded me that I 
should have been unable to accomplish anything. I under- 
stood more fully what he meant when I heard that, as soon as 
I had started from Paris on March 23rd, Lieutenant Tonnelat 
had been arrested and court-martialled for the crime of hav- 
ing informed me that I had been denounced from London. 



212 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


He had narrowly escaped severe punishment. I learned also 
that, besides the denunciation of Granville Baker for having 
“ served in the Germany Army,” I, too, had been denounced 
as pro-Austrian because I had “ lived many years in Austria.” 
And it became clearer to me through what channels Emanuel, 
who was a teetotaller and had been constantly with me, was 
denounced to General Delme-Radcliffe, the head of the British 
Military Mission in Italy, as “ having been drunk and dis- 
orderly at Milan and, therefore, untrustworthy.” 

Thus we had all received attentions from the pro-Austrian 
intriguers. Though I have a shrewd notion of the identity of 
some of them, and of the means of communication which they 
employed, I cannot, in the absence of documentary proof, 
mention their names. They were certainly men of influence 
with access to the military telephone system in England and 
France. But I do not think that these men would have ven- 
tured to do what they did had they not felt sure of powerful 
backing. 

On returning to London I reported myself at once to Lord 
Northcliffe and saw Mr. Balfour, who thanked me officially for 
the work done. To him I gave a full account of the intrigues 
against the Mission. He threw up his hands exclaiming, 
“ This is black treachery! We must go to the bottom of it.” 
I reported it also to General Sir George Macdonogh, the 
Director of Military Intelligence, who appeared genuinely 
shocked and promised a strict enquiry. Mr. Lloyd George 
invited me to breakfast but made no comment when I told him 
of the intrigues. He only said: 

“ I cannot understand how you got such results in so short 
a time.” 

“ When a lever is applied at the right moment in the proper 
way, big weights can be moved,” I answered. 

“ Well,” he replied, “ I don't mind telling you that I was 
in favour of trying to make peace with Austria.” 

“ Then, my dear Prime Minister,” I returned, “you ought 
to thank God that you were prevented from ruining the whole 
Allied cause.” 

Naturally, nothing came of the various enquiries promised 



PROPAGANDA 


213 


into the intrigues. But I had the double consolation of having 
done something worth doing at a total cost to the public 
exchequer of £350. Neither Seton- Watson, Emanuel, nor I 
took any salary, and Granville Baker got only his army pay. 

Much, however, remained to be done. While in Paris on 
my way back to London I had conferred with General Sack- 
ville-West at Versailles, and with General Bliss, the represen- 
tative of the United States Army, and was asked to meet a 
number of Allied officers to discuss the actual position of the 
Czechoslovak forces in Russia. As I found that the Allied 
military organization at Versailles had no contact with the 
Czechoslovak National Council, I took Benes and Seton-Wat- 
son to Versailles, where the position of the Czechoslovak 
forces was considered; and Benes remained thereafter in close 
contact with the Versailles Council. I also secured an under- 
taking from M. Clemenceau that the picked Italian divisions 
which had been sent to the French front should be utilized 
in actual fighting as soon as possible. Clemenceau readily 
agreed that if the Italian troops in France were known to 
have repulsed a German attack or to have been successful in 
a limited offensive against the Germans on the Western front, 
the Italian troops in Italy would be more likely to withstand 
an eventual repetition of the Caporetto tactics should German 
“ storm troops ” again be used against them. 

BACKSLIDING 

After reports of the Rome Congress had reached the United 
States, Mr. Lansing, the Secretary of State, declared officially, 
on May 29th, that the proceedings of the Congress “ have 
been followed with great interest by the Government of the 
United States, and that the nationalistic aspirations of the 
Czechoslovaks and Yugoslavs for freedom have the earnest 
sympathy of this Government.” In comparison with President 
Wilson’s “ Fourteen Points ” of January 8, 1918, this state- 
ment was a long step forward. President Wilson had said, 
“ the peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the na- 
tions we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be ac- 
corded the first opportunity of autonomous development.” 



214 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

The expression “ autonomous development ” had spread dismay 
among the subject Austro-Hungarian races, which knew by 
bitter experience that “ autonomy ” under the Hapsburgs 
might be but a cloak for the reality of arbitrary rule. There- 
fore they hailed Mr. Lansing's declaration, which our propa- 
ganda utilized, as tantamount to the adhesion of the United 
States to the resolutions of the Rome Congress. The French 
and British Governments interpreted it in the same way and, 
at an Allied Conference in Paris on June 3rd, proposed to 
issue a joint Franco-British-Italian declaration in favour of 
Polish, Czechoslovak, and Yugoslav independence. But they 
met with determined opposition on the part of Baron Sonnino, 
who refused to go beyond Mr. Lansing's statement. The 
declarations actually authorized on June 3rd by the British, 
French, and Italian governments therefore ran: 

(1) The creation of a united and independent Polish State with 
free access to the sea constitutes one of the conditions of a solid 
and just peace and of the rule of right in Europe. 

(2) The Allied Governments have noted with pleasure the 
declaration made by the Secretary of State of the United States 
Government and desire to associate themselves in an expression of 
earnest sympathy for the nationalistic aspirations towards freedom 
of the Czechoslovak and Yugoslav peoples. 

Both M. Pichon, the French Foreign Minister, and his 
British colleague, Mr. Balfour, were astonished at Baron 
Sonnino’s attitude. M. Pichon expressed his surprise that 
“ the Italian Government should now be more Austrophil than 
either the British or the French Government; and, as Sonnino 
remained obdurate, the British and French Foreign Ministers 
reserved their right to make ulterior statements on behalf of 
their respective Governments. Mr. Lansing, for his part, 
sought to drive Sonnino forward by issuing, on June 28th, the 
following addition to his earlier statement: 

Since the issuance by this Government on May 29 of the state- 
ment regarding the nationalistic aspirations for freedom of the 
Czechoslovaks and Yugoslavs, German and Austrian officials and 
sympathizers have sought to misinterpret and distort its manifest 
interpretation. In order that there may be no misunderstanding 
concerning the meaning of the statement, the Secretary of State has 



PROPAGANDA 


215 


to-day further announced the position of the United States Govern- 
ment to be that all branches of the Slav race should be completely 
freed from German and Austrian rule. 

But the harm had already been done. Sonnino had blunted 
the edge of the Rome Congress resolutions. At the beginning 
'of June a Yugoslav division of the Austro-Hungarian Army 
had been on the point of coming over to the Allies. In the 
latter part of April and throughout May, hundreds of Czecho- 
slovak and Yugoslav soldiers had sought refuge in the Allied 
lines, bringing with them our propaganda leaflets as passports. 
Some of them had volunteered to go back into the Austrian 
lines, in order to carry on our propaganda among their com- 
rades and to return with precise information of the enemy 
dispositions and of the hour of the intended offensive. But 
when the Franco-British-Italian declaration of June 3rd was 
issued, the Austrian authorities seized upon it as proof that 
the Allies had gone back upon the resolutions of the Rome 
Congress and were merely fooling the subject Hapsburg 
peoples. Thus the Yugoslav troops were deterred from com- 
ing over in masses; and though many individual Czechoslovaks 
and Yugoslavs actually came over on June 12th and 13th, 
bringing information of great value as to enemy gun positions 
and ammunition dumps, the harm Sonnino had wrought could 
not be undone before the Austrian offensive on the Piave was 
launched on June 15th. The Austrian-German and the 
Magyar troops then fought with great determination and made 
some headway; but once their initial onrush had been stayed, 
the issue was not in doubt. The Austro-Hungarian Army was 
heavily, though not decisively beaten. Had Baron Sonnino 
assented to the declarations which M. Pichon and Mr. Balfour 
wished to make on June 3rd, the Piave battle would probably 
have ended in a complete Austro-Hungarian disaster and the 
war would have been shortened by some months. 

PROPAGANDA IN ITALY 

Though Mr. Lansing’s supplementary statement of June 
28th came too late to affect the Piave battle, it encouraged 



216 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Mr. Balfour and M. Pichon to publish, early in July, an ex- 
change of telegrams when colours were presented to the 
Czechoslovak Army in France. On that occasion M. Pichon 
also referred publicly to the creation of a Yugoslav State. 
From these manifestations Baron Sonnino significantly held 
aloof. His attitude had, indeed, become so equivocal that, 
when, towards the middle of June, Lord Northcliffe was asked 
by the Government to take over British propaganda in Italy 
and consulted me about it, I advised him not to accept the 
offer until I should have secured from the Italian Prime 
Minister a definite assurance that Italian policy had not 
changed. In any case, I urged, we ought not to undertake 
propaganda in an Allied country in the same sense as v;e 
were conducting propaganda against the enemy, but rather to 
form a small committee in London which could promote 
Italian interests and work in harmony with a pro-British 
committee in Rome. Therefore I wrote to Signor Orlando, on 
June 15th, a very frank letter which the Italian Ambassador 
forwarded. Its conclusion ran: 

Your Excellency knows my conviction that there can be neither 
security nor development nor real independence for Italy outside 
the policy laid down by your Excellency in your speech of adhesion 
to the Rome Congress; that any other policy more restricted and 
not aiming at a complete victory of the Allies is semi-defeatism; 
and, before going on with the work which has been offered to Lord 
Northcliffe, I wish to be certain that I shall not be deceiving myself 
if I take that speech and that policy as the cardinal principles of 
my activities. 

To this letter I received a few days later a reply from 
Orlando in a telegram addressed to the Italian Ambassador 
in London. It ran: 

Tell Steed that my policy remains, and will remain, the policy 
we agreed upon at Rome, whatever the consequences may be. 

PACIFISM IN ENGLAND 

How the Italian Prime Minister kept his word will presently 
appear. We, at least, kept ours. We formed, at Crewe House 



PROPAGANDA 


217 


a Committee of Action for Italy ” and did everything pos- 
sible to promote Italian interests. My own activities were, 
early in June, temporarily hampered by an omnibus in Pic- 
cadilly, which knocked me down and left me much the worse 
for wear. Thus I forsook Crewe House by day and The Times 
office by night, and worked uncomfortably in bed. While 
there, I had a visit on June 13th from a young Englishman 
of literary standing and connected with the Labour Party. 
He had been seconded from military duty for special service 
in an important neutral country and, after a strenuous year, 
had come home on leave. Finding me bruised and bandaged, 
he tactfully wrote what he had wished to say, and his letter 
was so startling that action had to be taken at once. It stated 
that he had heard, on unimpeachable authority, that some 
members of the War Cabinet had embraced the idea of a 
negotiated peace with Germany mainly at the expense of 
Russia. Mr. Lloyd George had not accepted the idea offhand 
but had arranged to discuss it with some members of the La- 
bour Party, particularly Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb, whom Mr. 
Lloyd George met at Lord Haldane’s house. When Mr. Lloyd 
George found that the Webbs would have nothing to do with 
it, he had suggested that they should talk to Lord Milner about 
it, which they declined to do. Later on, Lord Haldane re- 
opened the subject at the Webbs' house in conversation with 
the Belgian Socialist, Camille Huysmans, who, however, de- 
clared that so far from being acceptable to the International 
Socialists, the notion was “ too infamous even for Scheide- 
mann ” (the German Socialist leader) . But, early in June, 
Lord Lansdowne had discussed the idea with his supporters 
at a private meeting and had announced that he had drafted a 
second letter proposing, in effect, to leave Germany a free 
hand in Eastern Europe. This letter he would send to the 
press as soon as any new German peace move should provide 
an occasion. Lord Lansdowne added that he was very con- 
fident of success this time because he had the private support 
of “ influential members of the War Cabinet itself.” He also 
stated (which was a fact) that the German Government had 
definitely proposed, at the end of May, 1918, that the im- 



218 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


pending Anglo-German negotiations at the Hague upon the 
treatment of prisoners of war should be made the occasion of 
informal peace negotiations, and that Germany would be ready 
to offer very favourable terms. This proposal, Lord Lans- 
downe added, had been rejected; but he was assured that the 
rejection was not of a very determined sort, and that the 
German Government would renew the attempt, publicly or 
privately, in the near future. 

“ In effect,” my correspondent continued, “ most of the lead- 
ing members of the War Cabinet are just 1 afraid/ Their fear 
does not attach itself to anything definite, to any specific 
prospect of danger, but is simply loss of nerve. Now, as a 
visitor to my native country, nothing has impressed me more 
than the amazingly healthy state of public opinion in England 
about the war. It seems to me to be far more strong and solid 
and clear-minded than it was when I left a year ago. But, 
if the public is far steadier than I expected, our rulers are far 
worse. They seem rotten , and to have lost all their pluck, 
if ever they had any. However, there is still The Times! I 
have never been a Northcliffe enthusiast but I am certainly 
leaving England with the feeling that, amongst those in high 
places he, more than any, deserves the confidence of those 
of us who mean to see the thing through. Of course we shall 
see it through; but heaven knows how y with such a crew in 
Whitehall.” 

I sent at once for Northcliffe’s private secretary, had three 
copies of this letter made, and despatched them to Northcliffe, 
Mr. Balfour, and Mr. W. M. Hughes, the Prime Minister of 
Australia, respectively. Mr. Balfour told the bearer that the 
letter “ appalled him.” Mr. Hughes telephoned to say that he 
was fully aware of the situation and had been fighting against 
it, but was almost powerless. Northcliffe telephoned from the 
country to ask what I could suggest; and I told him that I 
thought a sensational leading article in the Daily Mail would 
be the best means of spoiling the intrigue, if intrigue there 
was. An article in The Times might cause too much alarm. 
He asked me to dictate the article and send it to him. It 
appeared in the Daily Mail of June 18 th and ran as follows: 



PROPAGANDA 219 

WATCH LANSDOWNE — AND OTHERS 

Herr von Kiihlmann, it seems, is talking to German Grand Dukes 
and minor Kings about Alsace-Lorraine. When he last mentioned 
the subject in the Reichstag he said that the only German answer 
to any demand for Alsace-Lorraine must be “ Never!” Has any- 
thing happened to change his views? The great offensive in the West 
has, so far, disappointed German hopes. The great Austrian of- 
fensive seems unlikely to revive them. There remains the great 
peace offensive, which is the third string to the German bow. 

Launched by Herr von Kiihlmann, we know what it would mean. 
He is an “Easterner,” who thinks it would be worth Germany's 
while to buy off England and France by evacuating Belgium and 
even restoring Alsace-Lorraine (for the time being) on condition 
that Germany should be given “ a free hand ” in Russia and the 
East. 

Is he preparing some such offer as this? Has he any ground for 
supposing any British statesmen to be so stupid as not to see that 
with a “ free hand in Russia and the East ” Germany could, a few 
years hence, turn against the West with redoubled strength, re- 
conquer Belgium, reannex Alsace-Lorraine, and place England her- 
self in the direst peril? 

We should like to be sure that the cunning German diplomatist has 
no such ground. Lord Lansdowne’s motley supporters are whisper- 
ing that another Lansdowne letter, proposing to give Germany a 
free hand in Eastern Europe, is already drafted and will be sent 
to the press as soon as a new German peace move provides an 
occasion. They add that the frightened Marquis is confident of suc- 
cess this time because he has “ the private support of influential 
members of the Government.” This sounds frankly incredible. 

Our ministers may be weak and foolish, but we have no right 
to think them traitors; and traitors they would be were they to 
listen, even for an instant, to any idea of giving Germany “ a free 
hand in the East.” They would deserve to be, as they probably 
would be, hanged by their indignant fellow countrymen and country- 
women, who would not suffer the war to end in so shameful a be- 
trayal. 

But Lansdowne, Haldane, and others are meeting and talking. 
They are alluding knowingly to the Prisoners Conference at the 
Hague as likely to bring us a German “ peace offer on very favour- 
able terms.” 

We strongly advise all members of the War Cabinet, and, indeed, 
all important Ministers, to state without delay in plain, unequivocal 
language that they have never had, have not, and will not have any 
truck whatever with any idea of purchasing a trumpery “peace” 
in the West by giving Germany “ a free hand in the East.” 



220 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


We had expected a furious outburst in the pacifist organs 
against this article. There was none. They suddenly became 
silent. Northcliffe telephoned to me, “ We have hit the bull's- 
eye.” Lord Lansdowne's second letter did not appear; but 
six weeks later (on July 31st) he addressed to a meeting of 
his followers a pale version of it, consisting solely of pious 
platitudes. In it he said, “ We shall be told that the moment 
when the Allied Armies are achieving glorious success in the 
field is not the moment for even hinting at the possibility 
of peace.” The truth was that the Allied counter-offensive 
of July 18th under General Foch had finally quashed the 
pacifist intrigue. 



CHAPTER XVI 


THE DAWN 
1918 

T O me, the six months between the Allied counter-defensive 
of July 18, 1918, and the meeting of the Peace Conference 
in Paris on January 16, 1919, seem the most tragic period of 
the war. In it, hopes long deferred were fulfilled, faith tena- 
ciously held was vindicated. The chance was offered of build- 
ing a new world on firmer foundations, and vistas of achieve- 
ment greater than military victory gladdened the eyes of the 
Allied peoples. But the chance was missed, men mighty in 
war became petty in peace, selfishness chilled generosity, and 
eyes that had gazed in rapture upon a beatific vision from 
afar were dazzled into blindness at its approach. 

No man can yet tell the story of those months. Yet they 
hold the main secret of the failures of the Peace Conference. 
What I know I shall write. When others in turn have told 
what they know and when archives are opened to scrutiny, 
much of the truth, though by no means all, will be revealed. 
My own “ minor chronicle ” can record but an infinitesimal 
part of it. 

From July to October, 1918, 1 was engaged mainly on propa- 
ganda against the enemy by day and on my work as foreign 
editor of The Times by night. During my mission to Italy 
in the spring, and in the course of the summer, Crewe House 
had developed propaganda against Germany, Mr. H. G. Wells 
being at first in charge of the German Department. With 
him was associated Mr. J. W. Headlam-Morley ; while Mr. 
S. A. Guest, who had long striven single-handed to organize 
the distribution of British propaganda literature in enemy 
countries, acted as their technical adviser. As liaison officer 
with the War Office, Captain Chalmers Mitchell, the well- 

221 



222 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


known scientist and zoologist, rendered help which became 
more and more efficient, just as Mr. C. J. Phillips of the 
Foreign Office, who had been seconded from the Board of Edu- 
cation, kept Crewe House in touch with the diplomatic service 
and secured for us the advantage of access to confidential des- 
patches and telegrams. His clear-headed shrewdness, like the 
wide knowledge of Chalmers Mitchell, proved to be of the 
utmost value. They spared neither time nor effort in pushing 
on the work. 


PROPAGANDA AGAINST GERMANY 

By the end of May Mr. H. G. Wells produced a volumi- 
nous memorandum which was boiled down into a letter from 
Lord Northcliffe to Mr. Balfour asking for the assent of the 
Government to the general scheme of ideas which it set forth. 
This letter, which formed our general charter, urged that we 
should not put forward, for propaganda purposes, aims which 
the Allies did not really intend to secure; but it argued that 
Allied war aims were of a nature to strengthen such opposition 
to the war as existed in Germany if they were presented in a 
suitable form. The German people, it contended, were ac- 
quiescing in a continuance of the German offensive in the 
West because they had been assured by their leaders that 
thus only could a speedy peace be attained. Therefore Allied 
propaganda should tell them of the immutable will of Allied 
nations to continue the war, no matter at what cost, and to 
render the commercial blockade more stringent than ever. At 
the same time, the German people should be assured that the 
Allies did not desire to impose a peace that would involve the 
internal ruin of Germany. Such ruin would result if Germany 
continued to pursue the policy of subjecting Europe to her 
domination. It could, however, be avoided if the German 
nation would forgo this policy and accept the Allied scheme 
for a new organization of the world. 

Thus, Lord Northcliffe^ letter suggested, our propaganda 
would contain for the German people an element of fear and 
an element of hope. It continued: 



THE DAWN 


223 


I take it that the real object of the Allies is, after defeating Ger- 
many, to establish such a world peace as shall, within the limits of 
human foresight, preclude another conflagration. It seems necessary, 
therefore, that the separate aims which would, of course, be main- 
tained, such as the restoration of Belgium, the liberation of Alsace- 
Lorraine, the establishment of civilized government in Mesopotamia 
and Palestine, should be put forward in their proper places as in- 
dividual but essential points in the general scheme for the settlement 
of world-politics on a basis which would go far to remove the causes 
of future wars. 

Any such scheme would, in effect, amount to the constitution of a 
“ League of Free Nations.” It is, I presume, generally understood 
that eventually Germany would be invited to take her place in such 
a League on condition that she accepted the principles of its founda- 
tion. Her admission to the League would be in itself her guarantee 
against the establishment of, e.g., a hostile monopoly of raw ma- 
terials. Our terms of peace, therefore, can be represented as the 
conditions on which Germany should be invited to take her part in 
such a league. In order to secure the economic benefits, she would 
have to accept the political conditions. If this is so, the task of 
propaganda is greatly lightened, for it would be easier to put our 
aims in such a form as to make them to some extent acceptable to 
the moderate elements in Germany than if they were put forward 
merely as terms to be imposed on a defeated enemy. . . . 

I am well aware of the very great practical difficulties which are 
bound to arise so soon as an attempt is made to give formal ex- 
pression to the general idea of a “ League of Free Nations.” But, for 
the purposes of our work, it is of the most urgent importance that 
some statement of this kind should be put forward at the earliest 
possible date. Such a statement would in effect be an offer to the 
Germans of peace on stated conditions. If it were accepted, Ger- 
many would be able, shortly after the conclusion of the war, to 
come into the new society of nations; if it were refused, the war 
would have to continue. But it should also be made clear to the 
German peoples that the privilege of admission to this society would 
inevitably be postponed for a period proportionate to the length 
of time that they continued the war. 

To this letter Mr. Balfour replied on June 11: 

Your important letter on propaganda in Germany must, I think, 
be brought before the Cabinet. On a cursory reading I can say 
that I am in general agreement with the line of thought, but I 
notice that you make no specific mention of a very difficult question 
— the German colonies. 



224 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


Thus Mr. Balfour raised one of the most difficult questions 
of the peace problem — the one with which German propa- 
ganda had made play in France and other countries at the 
beginning of 1917 as a means of sowing distrust among the 
Allies. As Northcliffe was unwell, we drafted for him, after 
careful consideration, a reply which was submitted, like his 
first letter, to the War Cabinet and received official approval. 
Its principal passage ran: 

I have no settled views as to the future of what were the German 
colonies, beyond a very strong conviction that they must never 
again be allowed to fall, for any military or naval purpose, under 
German control. But, broadly, my feeling is this: The whole situa- 
tion of the Allies in regard to Germany is governed by the fact that 
Germany is responsible for the war. The Allies are, therefore, en- 
titled to demand from her restitution, reparation, and guarantees 
as preliminary conditions of any peace settlement. The territories 
which the Allies have taken from Germany in the course of their 
legitimate self-defence, do not come into the same category as the 
territories seized by Germany, and the allies of Germany, in the 
course of their predatory aggression. To contemplate barter or 
exchange between one set of territories and the other would be to 
assimilate, by implication, the moral situation of the Allies to that 
of Germany. Therefore, however closely we may study the ques- 
tion, or rather the questions — for there are several — of the Ger- 
man colonies, we ought to make it clear that the ultimate settlement 
of those questions will be reserved for treatment by the Allies as 
a fighting league of free nations, or by the general League of Nations, 
should the behaviour of Germany entitle her to admission to it in 
time to take part in any scheme of world reorganization. 

Thus we were able to go ahead. Though Mr. Wells left us 
in July as a protest against a government regulation which 
excluded one of his assistants, as the son of an alien, from 
official employment, Mr. Hamilton Fyfe took his place and 
carried on the work with marked ability. He, Chalmers 
Mitchell, Phillips, Seton-Watson, Guest, and I met daily as a 
sort of executive committee, while Sir Campbell Stuart, whom 
we nicknamed the “ Senior Wangler ” on account of his 
ability in “ getting round ” recalcitrant officials and depart- 
ments, acted as Northcliffe’s deputy chairman. In our dealings 
with the Treasury, Mr. Kent, the Crewe House accountant, 



THE DAWN 


225 


helped ub to avoid many of the difficulties in which the Min- 
istry of Information under Lord Beaverbrook became involved; 
and ultimately, he compiled a record of our work which Sir 
Campbell Stuart published in 1920 under the somewhat melo- 
dramatic title of “ The Secrets of Crewe House.” 

By the time the Allied counter-offensive in France had de- 
veloped, early in August, 1918, more than 100,000 of our 
propaganda leaflets were being dropped daily over and beyond 
the German lines. Written in good, simple German they told 
the truth which was being concealed from the German troops. 
They gave information of the progress of the war on all fronts, 
showed, by means of shaded maps, the ground the Allies had 
gained, gave a full record of German losses, and recorded the 
progressive increase of the American Army in Europe. The 
chief method of distribution was by small balloons each of 
which could carry about four pounds' weight of leaflets. A 
string passing round separate bundles of leaflets was fastened 
to the neck of the balloon, a slow fuse being attached to the 
string so that it should be burned through at the proper 
moment. By this means, bundles of leaflets were released 
gradually. Luckily, the wind blew mainly from the south- 
west during the summer and autumn, so that our balloons 
sometimes floated 150 miles into enemy territory; though the 
bulk of our leaflets fell in the German trenches or in an area 
of from ten to fifteen miles behind the German front. 

German army orders and the German press soon gave evi- 
dence of the efficacy of this propaganda. On August 25th, 
the German Ministry of War admitted that “ in propaganda 
the enemy is doubtless our superior,” while the Deutsche 
Tageszeitung wrote, “ We Germans have a right to be proud 
of our General Staff. We have a feeling that our enemies' Gen- 
eral Staff cannot hold a candle to it; but we have also the 
feeling that our enemies have a brilliant Propaganda General 
Staff, whereas we have none.” On August 20th, the Roman 
Catholic organ at Cologne, the Kolnische Volkszeitung, pub- 
lished a letter from the front which contained the following 
passage: 



226 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Our enemies have recently been very busy distributing leaflets 
from the air. I have had two of these leaflets in my hands, and it 
is not to be doubted that our enemies are our masters also in this, 
for the leaflets are so well produced that the unwary are very likely 
to fall victims to them. 

The real trouble was that the leaflets were not only well , 
produced but that they told the strict truth. From the first, 
Crewe House propaganda had been based upon the truth — 
truth as to policy, truth as to facts, truth as to intentions. 
Lying propaganda defeats itself sooner or later. The superior 
veracity of events destroys it. When German troops who had 
lost ground on one section of the front found, two days later, 
the extent of their losses accurately given and illustrated in 
our leaflets, the leaflets naturally carried conviction, even 
when they revealed other enemy losses of which the troops in 
that section had heard nothing. Little by little, our leaflets 
came to be awaited by the German troops as trustworthy daily 
bulletins of the course of the fighting. This the German semi- 
official organ, the Kolnische Zcitung , admitted on September 
11th when it wrote, “ Ip our dear Fatherland to-day we have 
great numbers of innocent and ingenuous minds who doubt 
the plain statements of the German army reports but believe 
the false reports and omissions of the enemy and by Octo- 
ber 20th the Kolnische Volkszeitung issued “ Ten Command- 
ments for German Women, ” of which one was, “ Warn your 
brothers, your sons, your husbands, not to believe the enemy’s 
leaflets.” 

Seven weeks earlier, at the beginning of September, Mar- 
shal Hindenburg himself had issued a warning manifesto 
against our work. One of its passages ran: 

We should not take this plan of the enemy lightly. He conducts 
his campaign against our spirit by various means. He bombards 
our fronts, not only with a drumfire of artillery but also with a 
drumfire of printed paper. Besides bombs which kill the body, his 
airmen throw down leaflets which are intended to kill the soul. 

Of these enemy leaflets our men handed in: 

In May 84,000 

In June 120,000 

In July 300,000 



THE DAWN 


227 


A gigantic increase! 10,000 poisoned arrows daily in July; 10,000 
times daily an attempt to deprive the individual, and the army as 
a whole, of belief in the justice of our cause, and of the strength 
and confidence for ultimate victory! We can reckon in addition 
that a great proportion of the enemy leaflets will not have been 
found by us. 

Hindenburg’s figures may be supplemented. In August, 
3,958,116 leaflets were issued from Crewe House; in Septem- 
ber, 3,715,000; in October, 5,360,000, and in the first ten days 
of November, 1,400,000. The distribution ceased on November 
11th, the day of the Armistice. 

Despite denunciations of our propaganda by General von 
Hutier, commanding the Sixth German Army, and others, our 
propaganda gained increasingly the confidence of the German 
troops by the truthfulness of its statements. Von Hutier 
called Northcliffe “ The Minister for the Destruction of Ger- 
man Confidence,” defined him as “the most thoroughgoing 
rascal of all the Entente ” who had been “ given billions to 
use in influencing opinion in the interior of the country and at 
the fronts by means of paid agents.” The “ billions ” existed 
only in von Hutier’s imagination, for the total cost of 
Crewe House propaganda, from first to last, including the 
cost of its work in Italy which was ably carried on by Mr. 
Gerald O’Donovan, was little more than £70,000. In a war 
which was costing Great Britain £7,000,000 a day, this bill 
for nine months’ work on fronts extending from the North 
Sea to the Balkans was not excessive. 

PROPAGANDA AGAINST BULGARIA 

In point of fact the work in the Balkans was negative rather 
than positive. On May 25, 1918, we drafted for Lord North- 
cliffe a letter to Mr. Balfour asking for a government decision 
upon Allied policy in regard to Balkan countries before we 
could begin definite propaganda against Bulgaria. The letter 
urged that, without such a policy, any propaganda in Bulgaria 
would resolve itself into competitive bargaining between the 
Allies on the one hand and the Austro-Germans on the other, 
which would tend to estrange and dishearten the Serbians, the 



228 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Rumanes, and the Greeks. In such bargaining the Allies would 
be at a disadvantage inasmuch as Bulgaria already occupied, 
as a member of the enemy Alliance, considerably more than 
all the territories that would be the subject of the bargaining. 
It added: 

The aim of Allied policy in the Balkans should be a lasting ter- 
ritorial and political settlement framed, as nearly as possible, on 
lines of ethnography, with the object of paving the way for a per- 
manent League of the Balkan Nations. 

Bulgaria cannot possess all the territories ethnographically Bul- 
garian unless she retain, at the peace, districts held by Serbia, 
Greece, and Rumania, before the war. Serbia, Greece, and Rumania, 
on the other hand, cannot fairly be asked or compelled to abandon 
those districts unless they, in their turn, be united with territories 
ethnographically Serbo-Croatian [Yugoslav] Greek, and Rumanian. 

Allied policy should therefore deliberately aim at the solution of 
the Southern Slav, Hellenic, and Rumanian questions in the sense 
of the fullest possible racial unity and independence. 

The chief difficulty in defining the just claims of Bulgaria lies in 
the uncertainty as to the proper delimitation of Bulgarian Mace- 
donia. A purely ethnographical delimitation might involve economic 
and strategical injustice to Serbia and Greece unless it were accompa- 
nied by due provision, internationally guaranteed, for Serbian and 
Greek rights of way. Similarly, the retention of ports like Salonika 
and Kavalla by Greece would involve hardship to Bulgaria unless 
adequate provision, internationally guaranteed, were made for a 
Bulgarian right of way to those ports. 

Should it prove impossible to obtain, by persuasion or pressure, 
the assent of Serbia and Greece to the retention of ethnographical 
Macedonia by Bulgaria, an autonomous Macedonia might be set up, 
proper provision being made for the maintenance of order and for 
the repression of armed Serbian and Greek or Bulgarian “ propa- 
ganda ” by an international force of gendarmerie. One advantage 
of an autonomous Macedonia would be that it would meet the wishes 
of the Macedonian Bulgars themselves, who would prefer autonomy 
to annexation outright by Bulgaria. 

On June 6th Mr. Balfour expressed full agreement with 
the general idea underlying this policy and added, “ 1 feel, in- 
deed, that it will be of value if our own efforts in this direction 
which, for obvious reasons, can at present be only of the most 
tentative nature, are preceded by discreet and intelligent 



THE DAWN 229 

propaganda such as will not only appeal to our enemies but 
enlighten our friends.” 

In practice ,ve found, however, that the absence of a definite 
Balkan policy on the part of Allied governments and, in par- 
ticular, the backsliding of Italy from the basis of the Rome 
Congress, made positive propaganda against Bulgaria almost 
impossible. Therefore we restricted our work to definite 
intimations to the Bulgarians that unless their policy were 
completely reversed, the Allies would do nothing at the peace 
to save them from the fate that was in store for them; and 
they were told that four conditions were indispensable as pre- 
liminaries to the establishment of any relations between the 
Allies and Bulgaria. These were: 

(a) The expulsion of King Ferdinand and his family; 

(b) A complete rupture with Germany; 

(c) Establishment of a democratic government; 

(d) The orientation of Bulgarian policy in the direction of a 
Balkan Confederation under the aegis of the Allied Powers and of 
the United States. 

These conditions were drafted at Crewe House in reply to 
secret overtures which had been made to us by Bulgarian 
emissaries claiming to speak for the new Prime Minister, M. 
Malinoff; and we were authorized by the Foreign Office to 
convey through those emissaries a message that 11 Until Bul- 
garia has given proof that a complete reversal of her policy 
has actually been brought about, we are not prepared to enter- 
tain any suggestions from her.” This message was not with- 
out its effect both upon the Malinoff Government and upon 
other Bulgarian emissaries who were seeking to negotiate with 
our representatives in Switzerland. At the same time, Seton- 
Watson and I were authorized by the Foreign Office to re- 
assure the Greek and Serbian representatives in London by 
telling them of our attitude towards the Bulgarian overtures. 
We began also to prepare for the publication of a newspaper in 
Bulgarian which was to be smuggled into Bulgaria; but before 
this could be done, news came that Bulgaria had surrendered. 



230 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


SERBIAN WAR AIMS 

It was, indeed, necessary to reassure the Serbians and the 
Greeks who had been disquieted by rumours of secret nego- 
tiations between Bulgaria and the Western Allies. The re- 
organization of the Greek Army by M. Venizelos, and the 
reconstruction of a Serbian Army, reinforced by some Yugo- 
slav contingents, at Salonika, would have been endangered by 
a belief that the Allies were selling the pass to the enemy. Yet 
the attitude of the Serbian Government and, particularly, 
that of M. Pashitch was by no means satisfactory. Side by 
side with the defection of Italy from the policy of the Rome 
Congress of subject Hapsburg races, ran the defection of M. 
Pashitch from the Declaration of Corfu which had fore- 
shadowed a united Yugoslav State on the basis of complete 
political and religious equality between Serbs, Croats, and 
Slovenes. On this point there was a marked difference be- 
tween the Serbian Minister in London, M. Jovan Jovanovitch, 
and M. Pashitch. At a Mansion House meeting held on 
July 25, 1818, M. Jovanovitch had officially defined Serbian 
War aims to be: 

(1) The independence and unity of all Serbs, Croats and Slovenes 
in a single State; 

(2) “ The Balkans for the Balkan peoples ” and a reconstruction 
of the Balkan League; 

(3) Reparation for the ravaged Yugoslav districts; 

(4) Economic and intellectual intercourse with the Entente. 

Mr. Balfour, who spoke at this meeting, associated himself, 
as Foreign Secretary, with these aims. He criticized Austria- 
Hungary more frankly than any other British Minister had 
hitherto dorte, and recognized the Austrian problem as the 
key to European reconstruction, and the case of Yugoslavia 
as a test of Allied sincerity in regard to its solution. The 
Italian Ambassador, the Marquis Imperiali, sat by Mr. Bal- 
four’s side and tugged at Mr. Balfour’s coat whenever he 
thought the enunciation of British policy likely to displease 
Baron Sonnino. I watched this by-play and noted that, at 



THE DAWN 


231 


several points, it checked the flow of Mr. Balfour’s thought. 
Therefore, when it was my turn to speak as acting-Chairman 
of the Serbian Society of Great Britain, I said unreservedly 
what I felt Mr. Balfour would have wished to say had his 
freedom of speech not been hampered; and I was amused to 
see Mr. Balfour applaud vigorously the most downright pas- 
sages in my speech. Nevertheless, Mr. Balfour had said 
enough to make it clear that the full Yugoslav programme 
had the sympathy and support of the British Government. 

Doctor BeneS, who had been acting as Foreign Minister in 
the Czechoslovak National Council, was also on the platform 
and likewise associated himself fully with the statement of 
Serbian war aims. He had come to London to obtain from 
the British Government official recognition of the Czechoslovak 
National Council, consisting of Professor Masaryk, himself 
and General Stefanik, as the Provisional Government of the 
future Czechoslovak State. M. Pichon, the French Foreign 
Minister, had already recognized them on behalf of the French 
Government “ as the first basis of the future Czechoslovak 
Government.” Benes therefore hoped that the British Gov- 
ernment would likewise grant recognition on the same terms, 
so that he might telegraph the news to Masaryk at Washing- 
ton where the United States Government, in its turn, was dis- 
posed to grant recognition as soon as France and England 
should have granted it. 

A MYSTICAL WORD 

On the evening of his arrival, Benes brought to me, at The 
Times office, the French formula of recognition and asked 
whether I thought Mr. Balfour and Lord Robert Cecil would 
make any difficulty about granting British recognition forth- 
with. I advised him to try, and promised him all the help 
I could give. Next evening he returned, looking very discon- 
solate. He had discussed the question at great length with 
Lord Robert Cecil and Mr. Balfour, who had declined to ac- 
cept the French formula or to promise immediate recognition. 
They had argued that for Great Britain to recognize the 



232 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Czecholsovak National Council “ as the first basis ” of the 
future Government of an independent Czechoslovak State 
would be to curtail the freedom of the Czechoslovak people to 
choose another government should they wish to do so; and 
that it was indispensable that the subject Hapsburg Races 
should be left quite free to determine their own form of 
government. 

Benes could not understand this reasoning. He knew that 
Masaryk, Stefanik, and he possessed the full confidence of 
the Czechoslovak people and of the Czechoslovak Legion that 
was then fighting its way through Siberia towards Vladivostok; 
and he feared that some unconfessed object might lie behind 
British official reluctance. 

“ Is that the only objection that Balfour and Robert Cecil 
raised? ” I asked. 

“ That is the only one they mentioned,” answered Benes. 

“ Then you will get your recognition to-morrow,” I replied. 

Benes jumped for joy. 

“ Have they told you that? ” he asked eagerly. 

“No,” I said, “they have told me nothing; but, if that is 
the only objection, we can remove it with one word. Give 
me your formula.” 

BeneS handed me the document he had discussed with Mr. 
Balfour and Lord Robert Cecil. I put my pen through the 
words “ as the first basis of ” and wrote above, “ as trustee 
for ” the future Czechoslovak Government. 

“ Take that to the Foreign Office to-morrow,” I said, “ and 
you will get your recognition.” 

“ What does it mean? ” asked Benes, whose knowledge of 
French and German was superior to his knowledge of Eng- 
lish. 

“ Don’t ask, my dear fellow,” I answered. “ You will never 
understand. ' Trustee ’ is a mystical word. It is legal, moral, 
metaphysical, anything you like, but it will do your business 
for you.” 

“ What is the French for it? ” inquired Benes, incredulously. 

“ There is no French for it,” I answered. “ The dictionary 
may say that the French for ‘ trustee ’ is fonde de pouvoirs, 



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233 


dSleguS, or h/ymme de confiance. But ‘ trustee 1 means much 
more than that. It means that you will be recognized as re- 
sponsible for the faithful expression of the wishes of the 
Czechoslovak people, if and when they wish to form an inde- 
pendent State and government of their own, but that they 
will be entitled to get rid of you if they do not want you.” 

Still puzzled and only half-convinced, Benes returned next 
day to the Foreign Office, and came in glad haste to see me 
again in the afternoon. 

“ They have agreed to recognize us,” he exclaimed. “ They 
made not the slightest difficulty. They swallowed the word 
i trustee 1 like cream, but I still don't know what it means.” 

“ Never mind about that,” I answered. “ You must under- 
stand that we are a mystical people with a number of ‘ blessed 
words 9 in our vocabulary. Those words calm our moral 
scruples and flatter our sense of fairness. These are things 
which Continental peoples and governments have never been 
able to understand and probably never will. That is why 
they are always likely to be wrong about British policy. But 
if you cable Masaryk that Great Britain is ready to recog- 
nize him and you and Stefanik as ‘ trustees ’ for the future 
Czechoslovak Government, you will see that the Americans 
will accept our formula, because they are still Puritan enough 
to know what it means.” 

PASHITCH AND YUGOSLAVIA 

Thus the provisional Czechoslovak Government was offi- 
cially recognized on August 9th by Great Britain; and Mas- 
aryk presently secured the recognition of the United States 
Government and, with its approval, launched the Czecho- 
slovak National Declaration of Independence on October 
18th. Meanwhile, the granting of official status as an Ally 
to the Provisional Czechoslovak Government in Europe, and 
the recognition of the Czechoslovak Legion as an Allied army, 
made it urgent that similar recognition should be claimed 
and secured by the Serbian Government and the Yugoslav 
Committee jointly on behalf of all Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. 



234 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


It was to be expected that the Italian Government would be 
“ sticky ” in this respect; but M. Pashitch and the Serbian 
Government turned out to be just as unwilling to move in the 
desired direction. The reasons for their recalcitrance lay 
partly in the inveterate Serbian tendency to treat purely 
Balkan questions as of far greater importance than the ques- 
tion of Yugoslav National unity, partly in the unavowed but 
very real desire of M. Pashitch and the Serbian militarists to 
annex the Southern Slav provinces of Austria-Hungary, witli 
the intention of “ Serbifying ” them instead of uniting Serbia 
with them on a footing of equality, and partly in the de- 
termination of M. Pashitch himself to retain office at all 
costs. Of the 124 members of the Serbian Chamber who es- 
caped from Serbia when the country was overrun by the 
enemy in 1915, 60 were members of the Opposition. These 
declined to support any administration under Pashitch who 
thus remained without the support of a legal quorum. 

During 1917 and the greater part of 1918 intrigues and 
counter-intrigues tended to discredit the Serbo-Yugoslav 
cause; and King Nicholas of Montenegro fanned the flames 
of discord. At last, things reached such a pass that it became 
necessary frankly to warn the Serbian Government that 
Allied recognition could only be granted on the lines of the 
Declaration of Corfu. Therefore Seton- Watson wrote, with 
the approval of Crewe House, a vigorous article in the New 
Europe of August 22, 1918. It stated that the Yugoslav Com- 
mittee and the Serbian Government must act as equal factors, 
and concluded that “ Any Serbian statesman who should fail 
to perceive this truth would deserve to be regarded, not merely 
as an obstacle to the cause of Allied unity but as a traitor 
to the best interests of his race. In Serbia as elsewhere, our 
sympathy and support must be given, not to the old Oriental 
tendencies, now tottering to their fall, but to those new and 
democratic elements in whose hands the futree of Yugoslavia 
lies.” 

This article made a stir in the Southern Slav world and 
seems not to have received the unqualified approval of M. 
Pashitch. Towards the beginning of October, 1918, he came 



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235 


to London where, however, he declined to receive, in their cor- 
porate capacity or otherwise than as private individuals, the 
members of the Yugoslav Committee. Presently he let me 
know that he wished to see me; and as I wished to see him 
in order to tell him what I and my friends of the Serbian 
Society of Great Britain thought of his behaviour in declining 
to receive the Yugoslav Committee, as such, we met at Clar- 
idge’s Hotel on October 8th. 

A LIVELY CONVERSATION 

M. Pashitch began by saying that he wished to remove 
certain misapprehensions into which I had been led by in- 
accurate information as to the policy of the Serbian Govern- 
ment. He had always wished to form a Coalition Cabinet 
in order that all parties might bear the responsibility for 
failures and share the credit for successes; but representatives 
of the other Serbian parties had failed to work with him. 

I said that I was much less interested in these somewhat 
ancient details than in seeing Serbia adopt a policy that 
would help to place Serbo-Yugoslav unity on a firm basis 
and thus to contribute to a lasting peace settlement in Europe. 
The friends of Serbia in Great Britain had greatly regretted 
that the Serbian Government should not have taken action, in 
accordance with the Declaration of Corfu, to secure for the 
Austro-Hungarian Yugoslavs the same recognition from the 
Allies as had been granted to the Czechoslovaks. 

M. Pashitch answered that the Serbian Government could 
not regard the Austro-Hungarian Yugoslavs as requiring any 
such special recognition. It had always been the idea of 
Serbia to liberate them from the Hapsburg yoke and Serbia 
alone was qualified to do so. The Yugoslav Committee had 
been created by him and was his creature. Therefore he 
could not regard it as a qualified representative of the Austro- 
Hungarian Southern Slavs. The Czechoslovak National 
Council had a mandate from its own people whereas the 
Yugoslav Committee had none. 

I reminded M. Pashitch that he w r as mis-stating the facts 



236 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


and suggested that it was imprudent on his part to mis-state 
them to me, who had, from the outset, been connected with 
the formation of the Yugoslav Committee in London and with 
the placing of its funds (furnished by the Yugoslavs of South 
America) at Lloyds Bank. The mandate of the Yugoslav 
Committee was exactly of the same nature as that of the 
Czechoslovak National Council. It had made declarations 
and undertaken activities in Allied countries, and its declara- 
tions and activities had been ratified by its own people in 
Austria-Hungary in the same way as those* of the Czecho- 
slovak National Council had been. Moreover, it was strange 
that he, M. Pashitch, should have negotiated and signed the 
Declaration of Corfu with the President of a Yugoslav Com- 
mittee devoid of a mandate. 

M. Pashitch answered, somewhat angrily, that the Declara- 
tion of Corfu had merely been issued by him in order to make 
an impression upon European public opinion. At that time 
(July, 1917) there had been some talk of constituting Serbia- 
Yugoslavia as a Federation; but this was impossible. The 
Yugoslav people were very mixed. There were, for instance, 
a large number of Serbs in Slavonia and Croatia, all of whom 
were determined to belong to Serbia and cared nothing for 
what the Croats might do. Serbia had a right to liberate these 
people — and, if the Croats and Slovenes wished to belong 
elsewhere, they might do as they liked. 

I asked M. Pashitch not to forget that I, too, knew some- 
thing about the Southern Slavs of Austria-Hungary who were 
deeply attached to their historical provinces and to whom the 
old Triune Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia-Dalmatia repre- 
sented a reality. These provinces desired unity with Serbia 
on a basis of complete religious and political equality ; likewise 
the Slovenes and Croats of Carniola and Istria, not to mention 
the Croats, Southern Slav Mussulmans, and Serbs of Bosnia- 
Herzegovina. But, much as they desired unity, they were 
determined not to be Balkanized by any Serbian policy of 
conquest or annexation. I did not think that the Allied peo- 
ples or the people of the United States would sanction a mere 
policy of territorial acquisition on the part of Serbia. 



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237 


This seemed to upset M. Pashitch who retorted that the 
Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia-Dalmatia had been created by 
Austria against Serbia at the time when the Hapsburg Mili- 
tary Frontier against the Turks was abolished. 

I answered that his historical knowledge seemed to be as 
defective as his appreciation of Western public opinion. The 
Kingdom of Hungary-Croat in -Dalmatia, I reminded him, 
dated from the 12th century, and that of Croatia-Slavonia- 
Dalmatia from the end of the 15th, at latest, whereas the 
creation of the Military Frontier dated from the end of the 
17th and its abolition from the 19th centuries. 

Feeling, perhaps, that chronology was not his strong point, 
M. Pashitch said that Serbia intended to demand from the 
Allies recognition of her sole right to liberate the Austro- 
Hungarian Southern Slavs. When she had liberated them 
they might do what they liked, provided her rights were main- 
tained. 

I warned him that a Serbian Government, animated by 
such a spirit, would find difficulty in getting from the Allied 
governments and from the United States a mandate of the 
kind he suggested. I assured him that the proceedings of the 
Serbian authorities in Macedonia after the Balkan wars of 
1912-13 were too well known for it to be likely that Allied 
opinion would tolerate the adoption of any similar methods 
towards the Southern Slavs of Austria-Hungary. The only 
proper course would be for the Serbian Government and the 
Southern Slav Committee jointly to ask the Allied govern- 
ments to grant Allied and belligerent status to the Southern 
Slavs of Austria-Hungary and to declare jointly a desire to 
create a united and independent Southern Slav State on the 
basis of the Declaration of Corfu. 

M. Pashitch said that he was willing to observe the Decla- 
ration of Corfu, but that the dominant policy must be his 
policy and that officials who did not obey his orders must be 
removed. He alone was entitled to determine what policy 
should be followed; and those whom he employed had to 
obey orders. 

“ Your Excellency speaks like a Sultan,” I returned, “ and 



238 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

I warn you that the Allied peoples are in no mood to respect 
Sultans. They feel gratitude towards Serbia, and deep ad- 
miration for the gallantry of her armies; but they do not 
identify the cause of Serbia with any single person, nor do 
the personal positions or ambitions of any individuals weigh 
with them for a moment. And since your Excellency talks 
of dismissing officials, allow me to point out that the Serbian 
Government has done itself much harm at Washington by 
the dismissal of the Serbian Minister, M. Mihailovitch, on 
account of his Southern Slav sympathies; and that, should 
the Serbian Minister in London, M. Jovanovitch, who has 
won general respect in this country, be similarly dismissed 
for similar reasons, and be replaced by any official of doubt- 
ful antecedents, it would take long for the Serbian Legation to 
regain the standing which it has acquired under M. Jovano- 
vitch.” 

“ That is for me to decide,” answered M. Pashitch. “ I 
have given orders and my employees have to obey; and in 
order to show that Serbian policy cannot be affected by any 
one official I will remove Jovanovitch at once and ask the 
British Government to accept a more desirable nominee.” 

I told M. Pashitch that, though I was not in a position to 
suy what the British Government would think of such a 
proceeding, I must warn him emphatically, in the name of 
the friends of Serbia in this country, to be very careful how 
he treated M. Jovanovitch. 

M. Pashitch seemed taken aback. Before he could answer 
I told him that my time was short and I must go. I had 
come to tell him quite frankly what I and the other mem- 
bers of the Serbian Society of Great Britain felt about his 
policy so as to leave him no excuse for saying that he had 
not been fairly warned. Then I left him. 

On returning to Crewe House I dictated a memorandum 
of this conversation and sent it to Mr. Balfour, whom M. 
Pashitch was to see next day. Mr. Balfour expressed ap- 
proval of my frankness with the Serbian Prime Minister and 
used my memorandum as a brief for his own interview with 
M. Pashitch. In fact, M. Pashitch left the Foreign Office 



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239 


under the impression that, if anything, my language had been 
milder than that of the British Foreign Secretary. I never 
saw, or wished to see, M. Pashitch again. As his subsequent 
conduct proved, the character of a petty Balkan Sultan in 
which I had seen him was his true character. His attitude 
at the beginning of October was the less excusable because 
the Italian Government had issued at Rome, on September 
25th, an official statement recognizing as desirable the union 
of the Yugoslav peoples with Serbia in a Free State. On the 
same day in London Senator Marconi, speaking on behalf of 
the Italian Government at a banquet given by Lord North- 
cliffe in honour of an Italian “ Flag Day,” had declared that 
while Italy could not assent to the creation of a Yugoslav 
State under the Hapsburgs, she viewed the union of the 
Yugoslavs with Serbia in a Southern Slav Free State as an 
essential Allied war aim. 


“ foolery ” 

That Italian Flag Day had a history of its own. We or- 
ganized it at Crewe House, the money collected in the streets 
and elsewhere being devoted to the Italian Red Cross. We 
had wished it to be held on September 20th, the Italian Na- 
tional Festival that celebrates the Italian entry into Rome on 
September 20, 1870. But the Italian Ambassador, the Mar- 
quis Imperiali, who had strong Clerical leanings, was terrified 
lest the organization of the Flag Day on September 20th in 
London get him into trouble with some of his “ Black ” 
friends; and, in order to avoid personal responsibility, he 
took a holiday for a while. The majority of Italians were, 
however, anxious that the Italian flag should fly on the Vic- 
toria Tower at Westminster, alongside of the Union Jack, on 
September 20th. At Crewe House we shared this wish and 
urged the Foreign Office to grant it. Before leaving London, 
the Marquis Imperiali also advised the subordinates whom 
he had left in charge to have the flag flown on September 20th, 
though he thought it more prudent not to support the request 
in person. A struggle of influences took place at the Foreign 



240 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Office, a number of Catholics protesting that to fly the flag 
on September 20th would so seriously wound Roman Catho- 
lic fee lings that Cardinal Bourne, the Archbishop of West- 
minster, would find himself unable to officiate at the Requiem 
Mass for the Italian dead which was to be celebrated in 
Westminster Cathedral on September 25th. Mr. Balfour 
listened for more than an hour to the advocates of the Roman 
Catholic and of the British Liberal view. Presently he said, 
not without a “ Pygmalion ” profanity rare in a man of his 

measured utterances: “ Gentlemen, this is all foolery. 

The flag will fly on the 20th.” Thus, for the first time, the 
flag of Italy waved from Victoria Tower on September 20, 
1918. 


ITALIAN APPREHENSIONS 

Senator Marconi’s speech or, rather, official statement, at 
Lord Northcliffe’s banquet on September 25th was, and is, 
a significant document in another respect than in its rela- 
tion to Italy and Yugoslavia. Much of it was an indirect 
plea that strong American reinforcements should be sent to 
the Italian front during the autumn and winter in order to 
ease the burden of the Italian Army in holding a long flank 
peculiarly susceptible to enemy attack. Representations to 
this effect had already been made to Lord Northcliffe by an 
Italian deputation whose speeches I had translated, my trans- 
lation being checked by an Italian who spoke English. North- 
cliffe had promised to use whatever influence he might possess 
with the American authorities to have the Italian request 
taken into consideration, but he had warned the deputation 
that, unless the policy of Italy were brought into harmony 
with the principles laid down by President Wilson, it might 
be difficult to get even an American division sent to Italy. 
Thereupon some members of the deputation hastened to the 
Italian Embassy and caused a report to be sent by telegraph 
to the Italian Government that Lord Northcliffe was hostile 
to Italy and had declared that he would use his influence to 
prevent a single American soldier from being sent to the 
Italian front. They did not know that their report would be 



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241 


at once communicated to the British Embassy in Rome — with 
an official Italian complaint of Northcliffe’s “ attitude ” — 
and that the British Ambassador’s despatch upon it would 
be in our hands within forty-eight hours. Thus we were able 
to detect, and to correct, their curious performance. Never- 
theless, Senator Marconi begged Northcliffe on behalf of the 
Italian Government, to urge the American authorities to send 
500,000 troops to Italy at once; and Northcliffe supported 
the request on the understanding that Italian policy would 
once more be brought into harmony with the resolutions of the 
Rome Congress. But, within a month, events were to show 
how completely the Italians had misjudged their own mili- 
tary position. 


PROPAGANDA FOR PEACE 

The sweeping successes of the Allied armies on the Western 
front in August and September, the successful Franco-Scrbian 
advance in the Balkans from September 15th onwards, General 
Allenby’s victories over the Turks in Palestine, and the break- 
ing of the Hinden burg Line by the British and Americans on 
September 29th, heralded so clearly the approaching end of 
the war that it became urgent publicly to proclaim the Allied 
peace terms. On August 14th, Lord Northcliffe had convened 
a second Inter-Allied Propaganda Conference at Crewe House 
to consider the work already done and to agree upon policies 
for the immediate future. It was a very different affair from 
our first Conference at the end of February and the beginning 
of March. The success that had attended our efforts during 
the spring and summer had made Crewe House popular in 
the official world, and Allied governments and British depart- 
ments of State were eager to help in its work. Some forty 
delegates attended from France, Italy, the United States, and 
Great Britain ; and in three days much useful work was done, 
especially in regard to the Italo-Yugoslav question. Indeed, 
the declaration in favour of Yugoslav and Serbian unity, issued 
by the Italian Government on September 25th, was a tran- 
script of a resolution unanimously adopted by the Policy 
Committee of our Propaganda Conference. It was agreed 



242 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

also that, henceforth, representatives of the National Coun- 
cils of the subject Hapsburg races should be included in our 
technical propaganda committees. But the most important 
result of the Conference lay in its sequel. After the closing 
sitting, an important member of the British General Staff 
suggested to me, on behalf of the War Office, that Crewe 
House should at once take in hand the drafting of a propa- 
ganda peace policy with the assistance of all Departments 
of State. He said: 

“ The way you fellows have run this Conference shows that 
you may be able to do what nobody else can do. Luckily, you 
are not a Department of State and therefore nobody is jealous 
of you. Also you have succeeded, and therefore everybody 
will be glad to work with you. What is wanted is an Inter- 
Departmental Committee, formed of delegates important 
enough to be able to decide matters for their several depart- 
ments, to draft the broad lines of a peace programme so that 
it can be distributed throughout the world with the approval 
of the War Cabinet. If you will take on the job, we will help 
you.” 

After some consideration we “ took on the job.” The Inter- 
Departmental Committee was formed, the War Cabinet, the 
Admiralty, the War Office, the Foreign Office, the Treasury, 
the Air Ministry, the Colonial Office, the India Office, the 
Ministry of Information, the National War Aims Committee, 
and the Press Bureau each appointing a representative of 
high rank; and a small Crewe House sub-committee was in- 
structed to prepare a draft peace programme. Among the 
materials on which it worked was the “ Programme for Peace ” 
article which I had contributed to the Edinburgh Review in 
April, 1916; but Chalmers Mitchell, Seton-Watson, Hamil- 
ton Fyfe, C. J. Phillips, and Guest were also, and especially, 
the responsible authors of the final draft which the Inter- 
Departmental Committee adopted on October 9th, and rati- 
fied, with certain emendations, on October 19th. 

As “ indisputable conditions ” of peace this programme pro- 
vided for the complete restoration and indemnification of 
Belgium, independently of other Allied claims for reparation; 



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243 


and for the freeing of French territory, the reconstruction of 
the invaded Provinces, and compensation for all civilian losses 
and injuries. It stipulated also the restoration to France of 
Alsace-Lorraine, not as a territorial acquisition or part of a 
war indemnity, but as reparation for the wrong done in 1871, 
when the inhabitants of the two Provinces, whose ancestors 
had voluntarily chosen French allegiance in 1790, were in- 
corporated in Germany against their will. 

In regard to Italy, the programme foreshadowed the read- 
justment of her frontiers as nearly as possible along the lines 
of nationality; and it assured to all the peoples of Austria- 
Hungary a place amongst the free nations of the world and 
their right to enter into union with their kindred beyond the 
present boundaries of Austria-Hungary. 

Upon the question of Russia, the programme demanded the 
evacuation of Russian territory by enemy forces, the annul- 
ment of all treaties, contracts, or agreements made with sub- 
jects, agents, or representatives of Enemy Powers since the 
revolution and affecting territory or interests formerly Rus- 
sian, and the cooperation of the Associated Powers in secur- 
ing conditions under which the various nationalities of the 
former Empire of Russia should be able to determine their 
own form of government. In particular, it provided for the 
establishment of an independent Polish State with access to 
the sea, which State should include the territories inhabited 
by predominantly Polish populations; and for the indemnifica- 
tion of Poland by the Powers responsible for the havoc 
wrought. 

In regard to the Eastern Question, the programme proposed 
the abrogation of the Treaty of Bucharest of 1913, the evacua- 
tion and restoration of Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro, and 
the removal, so far as practicable, of Turkish dominion over 
non-Turkish peoples. 

As reparation for the submarine warfare waged by Ger- 
many and Austria-Hungary, the programme stipulated that 
those Powers should be held liable to replace the merchant 
tonnage, belonging to the Allied, Associated, and Neutral na- 
tions, illegally damaged or destroyed; while it insisted upon 



244 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


the appointment of a tribunal before which individuals of 
any of the belligerents accused of offences against the laws 
of war or of humanity should be brought for impartial jus- 
tice. It contained also a passage to the effect that the former 
Colonial possessions of Germany had been lost by her in con- 
sequence of her illegal aggression against Belgium. 

Among the negotiable conditions of Peace the programme 
enumerated: 

(1) The adjustment of claims for damage necessarily arising 
from the operations of war, and not included amongst the indisput- 
able conditions. 

(2) The establishment, constitution, and conditions of member- 
ship of a League of Free Nations for the purpose of preventing 
future wars and improving international relations. 


MR. LLOYD GEORGE AND PEACE 

After the adoption of this programme by the Inter-De- 
partmental Committee on October 9th, Lord Northcliffe 
wished it to be submitted at once to the Prime Minister. 
Therefore he took Chalmers Mitchell and me with it to No. 
10 Downing Street, where he left us with Mr. Lloyd George. 
After glancing through the programme, Mr. Lloyd George 
said abruptly: 

“ I can’t have this. It invades the sphere of government. 
Here you are laying down principles and conditions which 
only the Allied Governments are competent to decide.” 

“ It is not the first time we have invaded the sphere of 
government — with the sanction of the Government,” I re- 
plied. “ Besides, this programme is not the fruit of our un- 
aided imaginations. It represents the work of a Committee 
representing nine Departments of State, and it has their 
unanimous approval.” 

“ I care nothing about that,” returned Mr. Lloyd George. 
“The Departments of State have no business to interfere 
with these matters, which must be reserved to the Allied 
Governments.” 

“ The Inter-Departmental Committee,” I replied, “ was ap- 



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245 


pointed at the suggestion of the War Office with the approval 
of the War Cabinet which was represented on it. The policy 
embodied in this programme is not to be announced as the 
official policy of the British Government but as the policy 
of the Enemy Propaganda Department. It is propaganda; but 
just as we have always sought in advance the sanction of the 
Government for our propaganda policies, so we now seek 
your sanction and that of the War Cabinet for this policy. 
Otherwise, we fear that an armistice may be made with the 
Germans upon an interpretation of President Wilson's Four- 
teen Points that would mislead them as to British policy.” 

“Well, I cannot sanction it. I cannot allow you to bind 
the hands of the Government by announcing things of this 
sort.” 

“ And, unfortunately, we cannot take ‘ no ’ for an answer,” 
I returned. “ What is your objection to a peace policy as 
outlined here? ” 

“ I cannot be bound by principles and programmes such as 
those you lay down,” answered the Prime Minister. “ I am 
a lawyer. I know that possession is nine-tenths of the law. 
When the Peace Conference meets, we shall go there in a 
very strong position — with the German colonies, or most of 
them, in our hands; the German Fleet in our grip, or at the 
bottom of the sea ; the German mercantile marine handed over 
to us to make good our losses — and we are not going to give 
away these advantages in advance. What we do with them 
may be a matter for negotiation; but meanwhile we shall 
hold them.” 

“ That is not the spirit in which the Allies have fought the 
war,” I objected, “ and we ought not, in my opinion, to de- 
part from it in the peace.” 

Chalmers Mitchell, whose face had shown blank surprise 
at Mr. Lloyd George’s attitude, said that he agreed with me 
entirely. He appealed to Mr. Lloyd George, in the name 
of “ England’s honour ” to uphold Allied ideals. 

“Anyhow, I can’t have this,” declared the Prime Minister 
testily, as he threw the programme on to the table. 



246 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


“ If you can't have it and will not examine it, will you ap- 
point someone who can examine it? " I asked. 

“ You can take it to Balfour, if you like. ,f 

“ If Mr. Balfour accepts it, will that mean that the British 
Government accepts it? " 

“Oh! If Balfour has no objection to it we will see what- 
can be done, but I can't take it like this." 

As Chalmers Mitchell and I left Downing Street, he said: 

“ It has been suggested to me that I should stand as a Lib- 
eral Candidate at the next General Election, and I had some 
thought of doing so. But I will never stand as a candidate 
for any party that is obliged to support a man who talks as 
he has talked." 

I, too, felt that the gulf between my view of the war and 
of the peace and the view of the peace which Mr. Lloyd George 
had expressed was too wide and deep to be bridged. 

Fortunately, Mr. Balfour consented to examine the Propa- 
ganda Peace Programme on behalf of the Government, and 
asked Chalmers Mitchell, Phillips and me to discuss it with 
him at the Foreign Office. We went through it point by point 
and were glad to find Mr. Balfour in complete agreement with 
it, except that he objected to its original wording about the 
German Colonies. He suggested, as an amendment, the word- 
ing: “ The former Colonial possessions of Germany, lost by 
her in consequence of her illegal aggression against Belgium, 
shall in no case be returned to Germany." With this change, 
the War Cabinet sanctioned the use of the programme as 
propaganda; and after a final meeting of the Inter-Depart- 
mental Committee had ratified Mr. Balfour's amendment on 
October 19th, Northcliffe outlined the programme in a speech 
to American officers in London on October 22nd. On Novem- 
ber 4th, a week before the Armistice, he published its full 
text, with explanatory comment, in the form of an article in 
The Times which was reproduced by the leading German news- 
papers and widely discussed throughout Germany. It cer- 
tainly helped to hasten the collapse of German resistance. 
In fact, it was the crowning achievement of Crewe House 
Propaganda. 



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247 


PROPAGANDA AFTER PEACE 

Meanwhile, the question had arisen whether our propa- 
ganda should cease with the cessation of hostilities or whether 
it should be transformed into a propaganda of explanation 
and reconciliation between Allied and enemy peoples. Before 
a decision could be taken, I heard of an incident which con- 
vinced me that an effort to educate the German people to 
some comprehension of the Allied standpoint in the war might 
be as necessary and as effective as our war propaganda had 
been. In despair, the Austrian Government had, on October 
17th, proclaimed a federation of the German Austrians, 
Czechs, Ukrainians, and Yugoslavs. On October 18th, the 
provisional Czechoslovak Government in Paris was formally 
recognized by all the Allies. On October 24th the British 
divisions under Lord Cavan had begun an offensive against 
the Austrians — a move about which the Italian Government 
were so nervous that they announced it as an isolated British 
undertaking. But after the initial British success, the Italian 
General Staff promptly ordered a general offensive which made 
rapid progress and ended in the complete collapse of the Aus- 
tro-Hungarian Army at Yittorio Veneto on October 29th. 
On October 24th, the Hungarian Government had fallen; and, 
on the following day, Count Karolyi had formed a Hungarian 
National Council. On October 27th, the Czechs proclaimed 
their freedom and independence at Prague, and Austria-Hun- 
gary sued for peace. Two days later, Yugoslav independence 
was proclaimed. 

On October 30th, Doctor Kramarzh, the leader of the 
Young Czech Party who had been imprisoned and condemned 
to death in Austria, met Doctor Benes at Geneva. Notwith- 
standing their equal delight at the liberation of their country, 
the two men found great difficulty in understanding each 
other. Since 1915 Bene§ had lived and worked in Allied 
countries and had become thoroughly imbued with the Allied 
spirit, whereas Kramarzh had, perforce, remained in Austria 
and had received, in spite of himself, many of his impressions 
of the war through German and Austrian channels. As they 



248 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

talked, BeneS gradually realized the wide gap between the 
Allied and the Central European views of the war. On re- 
turning to Paris he told me of his experience; and I felt that, 
if the divergence between two Czech patriots were so great, 
the divergence between the Allied and the German peoples 
must be still greater — so great, indeed, as to preclude all 
understanding between them unless and until a common vo- 
cabulary, or a common set of ideas, could be formed. 

I discussed this impression with Northcliffe, who was then 
in Paris, and laid before him a scheme for the transformation 
of Crewe House propaganda into a means of enabling the 
German people gradually to see why Germany had lost the 
war, and, to understand the force of the moral ideas which 
had ranged practically the whole civilized world in arms 
against her. Since it was clear that the Western districts of 
Germany, at least up to the Rhine, must remain for some 
time in Allied occupation, I proposed that one or two of us 
who were journalists should go, as journalists, to the editors 
of the principal German newspapers in the West — I had in 
mind especially the Kolnische Zeitung, the Catholic Kolnische 
V olkszeitung , and the Frankfurter Zeitung — and explain to 
them that the most interesting thing for the German people 
would be to know the true causes of its defeat in order that 
some common denominator between the German and the Al- 
lied standpoints might gradually be evolved. I did not think 
that Allied writers should attempt to give these explanations 
to German readers, but that a series of articles, of which the 
publication would extend over many months, should be written 
by well-known Germans who had either lived outside Ger- 
many during the war, or who knew the facts well enough to 
write intelligibly upon them for Germans in good German. 
As an inducement to publish these articles I wished to offer 
the German newspapers which might undertake to print them, 
as much of The Times news service gratis as they might care 
to take. Commercially, this offer would have been very valu- 
able to them. German editors, I believed, would have been 
shrewd enough to perceive its advantages, especially since 



THE DAWN 249 

the German articles we proposed to supply would have been 
frankly and fairly written. 

Northcliffe jumped at the plan and insisted on discussing 
it at once with the head of the French military propaganda, 
Commandant Chaix, who entered heartily into the idea and 
promised to place at our disposal the resources of his organ- 
ization. Northcliffe was the more eager to begin because Mr. 
Lloyd George had asked him to transfer the principal mem- 
bers of the Crewe House staff to Paris, and to make himself 
responsible for the British publicity arrangements at the 
Peace Conference. Lloyd George, Northcliffe told me, had 
urged him to take a house near Lloyd George’s own headquar- 
ters, so that the Crewe House Staff might be in constant 
touch with the Prime Minister and his secretariate. 

Therefore we retained an apartment which Lord Onslow, 
our representative in Paris, had already secured for Crewe 
House and began to look about for Northcliffe’s own quarters. 
This was on November 4th. Next day, Northcliffe returned 
to London on business, leaving me in Paris to complete the 
arrangements. But when he returned, on November 12th, the 
day after the Armistice, the situation had altered. Mr. Lloyd 
George had changed his mind and had decided to put his 
friend, Sir George (afterwards Lord) Riddell, in charge of 
British publicity arrangements. A rumour was presently cir- 
culated that Northcliffe and Lloyd George had quarrelled 
about Northcliffe’s status at the Peace Conference, North- 
cliffe — so ran the story — having wished to be one of the 
British delegates and Lloyd George having refused his re- 
quest. What truth, if any, there was in this story, I never 
discovered. I have always disbelieved it, both because North- 
cliffe never gave me any hint that he cherished such an ambi- 
tion, and because he knew he was far too unwell to undertake 
work so exacting as that of a delegate to the Peace Confer- 
ence would have been. Throughout 1918 he had suffered 
acutely from the growth in his throat which was to com- 
pel him — in June, 1919, — to undergo a serious operation. 
For this reason he had been unable to take a very active part 
in our work at Crewe House, though he had gallantly signed 



250 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

the documents prepared for him and had allowed us to use 
and abuse of his name and influence. On November 12th, when 
I called upon him in Paris, I found him in bed almost gasping 
for breath and unable to speak above a whisper. He showed 
me a letter he had just written to Mr. Lloyd George resigning 
the Directorship of Propaganda in Enemy Countries on the 
ground that the nature of the Armistice necessitated the 
termination of propaganda against the enemy. 

I regretted this decision but could not change it. North- 
cliffe sought to reassure me by saying that the work could 
be carried on through The Times and the Daily Mail , with the 
assistance of some of the Crewe House staff; and he asked me 
to stay in Paris throughout the Peace Conference in order 
to supervise it. As for himself, he felt too ill for serious work 
and had been ordered by his doctors to spend the winter in 
the South of France. 

Thus our propaganda came to an end at a moment when 
I thought, and still think, it might have been constructively 
useful. With it disappeared also the chance of carrying out 
the plan for the enlightenment of the German people. Though 
I continued to work privately in the sense of our Crewe House 
Peace programme, with the help of Seton-Watson and Chal- 
mers Mitchell, who presently joined me in Paris, we no longer 
disposed of the machinery needful for continuous and effective 
effort. 


ARMISTICE DAY 

As soon as Colonel House, President Wilson’s confidential 
adviser and delegate in Europe, heard that our propaganda 
had come to an end, he invited me to assist him in an hon- 
orary capacity as adviser on Central and Southern European 
questions. This invitation I gladly accepted. To Colonel 
House I was, and am, warmly attached, and I looked forward 
to the prospect of collaboration with him. I was in his house 
at 11 a.m. on the morning of November 11, 1918, when a 
submarine, moored in the Seine opposite the Chamber of 
Deputies, began to fire salutes in celebration of the Armistice. 
With an American officer I walked across the Place de la Con- 



THE DAWN 


251 


corde where crowds were gathering and improvised celebra- 
tions were beginning. At first, Paris seemed stunned, as 
though unable to realize that the war was over. Not until 
the late afternoon and evening were there noisy manifesta- 
tions of enthusiasm. The exact terms of the Armistice were 
not yet known and, in many quarters, a feeling of regret that 
the Allies should not have marched through to Berlin tem- 
pered satisfaction at the actual end of bloodshed. 

In some respects this regret was justified. Many of the 
difficulties that afterwards arose between the Allies and Ger- 
many would not have arisen had the German people been 
given ocular proof of their defeat. The belief that the down- 
fall of Germany was due solely to mutinies in the army, fos- 
tered by enemy intrigues, would not have been implanted so 
firmly in German minds. Why the Allies concluded the 
Armistice when and where they did is a question that has been 
much discussed but never exhaustively answered. President 
Wilson's exchange of messages with the Germans was un- 
doubtedly a decisive, but not the sole element. In France it 
was long thought that Allied agreement upon the Armistice 
terms to be proposed to Germany was the result of American 
dictation; and though this notion was presently corrected, to 
some extent, by an exchange of letters between Colonel House 
and Lieutenant Paul Mantoux, the official interpreter at the 
meetings of the Supreme Council of the Allies, it still persists 
in many quarters. 

I cannot claim to know all the details of the proceedings on 
November 4th, when the Allies finally adopted the Armistice 
terms ; but I have verified my impressions by comparing notes 
with several of the men who were present. All agree that, 
when the military terms had been settled, Colonel House, in 
the name of President Wilson, asked Marshal Foch, the 
Allied Commander-in-Chief, whether, from the purely military 
standpoint and putting aside all political considerations what- 
soever, he thought the terms sufficient to secure a complete 
Allied victory; or whether, as a soldier, he would prefer the 
Germans to reject them. 

Marshal Foch answered, “ The object of war is victory, not 



252 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

victory at any precise time or place. These terms give us 
victory. They are enough.” 

Later on, when the naval terms were being reviewed, the 
British representative, Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss (now 
Lord Wester-Wemyss) pressed for the inclusion of another 
German warship in the list of naval units to be surrendered. 
Marshal Foch objected strongly, saying that the list as it 
stood was ample. 

“ You are not going to risk a German rejection of the 
Armistice for the sake of another old cruiser, are you? ” he 
asked sharply. 

This incident seems to show that Marshal Foch sincerely 
desired the war to end. I have repeatedly discussed this point 
with him and am under the impression that, on November 4th, 
he thought it might be necessary to continue the war for some 
months before Berlin could be occupied, and that, in view 
of the Armistice terms, there would be no adequate justifica- 
tion for the losses that would be incurred. Had he then known 
how rapid had been the process of demoralization in the Ger- 
man Army and had he fully realized the importance of the 
collapse of Austria-Hungary or the fact that the Czech Decla- 
ration of Independence would enable the Allies to threaten 
Dresden and Berlin from Bohemia, he might not have placed 
so high an estimate upon German powers of resistance. 

In some French military minds, though not necessarily in 
the mind of Foch, a further consideration undoubtedly 
weighed in favour of the immediate conclusion of an Armis- 
tice. Both the French and British armies had suffered so 
heavily that they were becoming numerically inferior to the 
American Army, of which the strength was growing from day 
to day. Some French soldiers feared that, if war were pro- 
longed until the spring of 1919, the United States might de- 
mand that the Supreme Command of the Allied and Associated 
armies should pass to General Pershing, and that the pre- 
ponderating influence thus acquired by America in the Coun- 
cils of Europe would have led to the conclusion of an “ Ameri- 
can peace ” unsuited to European conditions. Whether this 
argument carried weight with Marshal Foch I am unable to 



THE DAWN 253 

say; but I know that it was used in exalted French military 
circles at the time. 

Be these things as they may, the Armistice was concluded 
on November 11th amid general rejoicing — rejoicing in which 
I felt disinclined to share because I was obsessed by the feel- 
ing that the peace negotiations might ruin the Allied victory 
if they were conducted in the spirit which Mr. Lloyd George 
had displayed at Downing Street in October. For the first 
time since August 4, 1914, I felt despondent — a despondency 
that grew when I learned that the Peace Conference could 
not meet until the middle of January. I feared that, in the 
interval, much of the idealism which had sustained the Allied 
peoples during the war might evaporate and give place to na- 
tional selfishness — a fear which the event was abundantly 
to justify. 


THE EMPRESS EUGENIE AND CLEMENCEAU 

On November 13th, two days after the Armistice, I re- 
turned to London. Crewe House was almost deserted; but, 
in conversation with some of my colleagues there, the idea 
arose that it would now be interesting for me to accept an 
invitation — -which I had been obliged to decline in the sum- 
mer — to visit the Empress Eugenie at Farnborough. The 
invitation had been given through the well-known British 
composer, Dr. Ethel Smyth, an old friend of the Empress. 
It appeared that a lady-in-waiting had read to the Empress 
the French edition of my book, “ The Hapsburg Monarchy,” 
and that the Empress had wished to examine me upon it and 
to scold me for expressing some views of which she did not 
approve. But, in July, there had been no time for anything 
beyond urgent work, and I had asked permission to post- 
pone the visit till a more convenient season. On November 
14th, however, I let Dr. Ethel Smyth know that, if the 
Empress still wished to see me, I should be glad to go to 
Farnborough on the following Sunday. Within a few hours 
she replied that the Empress would expect her and me to 
luncheon on Sunday, November 17th. 



254 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

We reached Famborough about midday. Though I had 
heard much of the Empress’s vitality, notwithstanding her 
ninety-two years, I was not prepared for the vigour of her 
conversation, the strength of her temperament, or the intensity 
of her interest in things past and present. Placing me by her 
side at luncheon she plunged at once into a discussion of Aus- 
tria, the Emperor Francis Joseph, and of European history 
from 1850 to 1871. She was a severe examiner. She gave 
no quarter and seemed to expect none. Her criticsim of my 
“ mistaken ” notions was merciless, and I felt under no obli- 
gation, save that of courtesy towards an aged dame, to accept 
it meekly. After luncheon, the discussion was resumed in her 
drawing room where it lasted without intermission until 5 
p.m., when I had to return to London. By that time I was 
exhausted; but the Empress seemed to feel no fatigue and 
bade me good-bye with the same bright mien as that with 
which she had welcomed me. Her views on Austria and on 
past history are now of little interest, though I felt admira- 
tion for her spirited defence of the letter she wrote to her 
husband, Napoleon III, in 1859 urging him to make peace 
with the Emperor Francis Joseph without delay after the 
Franco-Italian victories at Magenta and Solferino because 
she had heard that the Prussians were massing troops on the 
Rhine. She appeared to care little for the effects of that 
hasty peace upon Franco-Italian relations, nor did she appear 
to regret the Clerical policy of France that led to the Franco- 
Italian fight at Montana in 1867. In another respect, her 
standpoint was singular. She said: 

“ The Germans blundered when they took Alsace and Lor- 
raine. I wrote to the old Emperor William afterwards to say 
what a blunder he had made; and we had quite a corre- 
spondence about it. I wrote also to the King of Wurtemberg, 
who agreed with me. He was a big man, much too big for 
his little State. The Emperor and I always called him “ un 
geant dans un entresol” 

The idea that the Empress Eugenie should have continued 
to correspond, in friendly or semi-friendly fashion, with Ger- 
man sovereigns after the disasters of 1870-71, startled me. 



THE DAWN 


255 


After all, I thought, monarchs of that kind can never have 
looked upon lands and peoples otherwise than as pawns in 
their dynastic game. 

But the Empress gave me little time for reflection. I had 
hardly answered one of her questions about Austria when 
she said: 

“ You were in Paris on Armistice Day. It must have been 
wonderful. Tell me all about it. What were the people 
like? I should have loved to be there.” 

When I had described what I had seen she exclaimed: 

“ Ah! that Clemenceau! Were he my worst enemy, I would 
love him, I could even kiss him, for the good he has done to 
France.” 

“ May I give M. Clemenceau that message, Madame? ” I 
enquired. 

“ No,” she returned sharply, “ no message. I died in 
1870.” 

“ But, Madame, 1870 is now dead. Your Majesty can live 
again.” 

“ No, no! I am quite dead. But Clemenceau blundered. He 
should have attended the Te Deum in Notre Dame. He would 
have united France. He would have taught a great lesson 
of moderation and unity. He might have become Consul!” 

The Empress pronounced the word “ Consul ” in a tone of 
rapture, raising her hand until it pointed to the ceiling. 

“ She is true to type,” I thought; but I said aloud, “ I fancy 
that M. Clemenceau cherishes no such ambitions.” 

“ No matter. He can make good his mistake. Presently he 
will go to Strasburg. He must visit the Cathedral there. He 
may still unite France and give a lesson of unity and mod- 
eration.” 

“ May I give M. Clemenceau this advice from your 
Majesty? ” 

“ No! I tell you I died in 1870.” 

Then, suddenly, the Empress asked: 

“ Now, what are you going to do for my poor country? ” 

“ Why, madame, every Englishman is ready to do all in 
his power, and more, for France.” 



256 • THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

“ I do not mean France. I am speaking of Spain.” 

So taken aback was I at this revelation of her Spanish 
patriotism that I needed to think of her as the Countess 
Montijo rather than as the Empress Eugenie before I could 
collect my wits. By this time she had become alternately 
dithyrambic about Spain and ferocious in her denunciations 
of the Spanish Government, which would not build roads upon 
her vast Spanish properties although they extended over nearly 
800,000 acres. Somewhat maliciously I suggested that, with 
possessions so vast, it might have been possible for her to 
build the roads herself; but she retorted with a yet more 
vehement denunciation of Spanish methods and insisted that 
road building was the business of the Government, not that 
of a private owner. 

On my way back to London I thought I had discovered the 
secret of the fall of the Second Empire. If, in her ninety- 
third year, the Empress Eugenie was still a tempest incarnate, 
she must have been a hurricane in the ’sixties and ’seventies; 
and, for the first time, I feltr a sneaking sympathy for 
Napoleon III. 

A fortnight later, on Sunday, December 1st, the French 
Prime Minister, M. Clemenceau, with Marshal Foch, came 
to London to discuss the preliminaries to the Peace Conference. 
I had an important message for M. Clemenceau and called 
that evening at the French Embassy to deliver it. I found 
him looking tired. The crossing had been rough and he had 
been bruised by the lurching of the vessel. Therefore I told 
him that I would not keep him long. 

“Oh!” he answered, after he had received the message, 
“ don’t go away. I have leisure now. The poor old Tiger has 
lost his teeth and his claws. He is all smiles ” — and he 
smiled with the air of a man whose supreme work had been 
well done. 

“ In any case, Monsieur le President,” I continued, “ I will 
not keep you as long as an illustrious lady kept me a fort- 
night ago. She talked, or kept me talking, for five hours by 
the clock and left me worn out while she, with her ninety-three 
summers, seemed as fresh as a maiden.” 



THE DAWN 257 

“ Ah! you frequent illustrious ladies of such tender age. I 
cannot say that I admire your taste. What’s her name? ” 

“ Eugenie,” I answered. 

“ What! That old woman is still alive? ” 

“ Yes; and she even said that if Clemenceau were her worst 
enemy she would love him and kiss him for the good he has 
done to France.” 

“ Excellent sentiments! ” 

“ But when I asked whether I might tell you that, she for- 
bade it, saying that she died in 1870.” 

“ That’s true. She is quite dead.” 

“ Then, she added that Clemenceau had made a blunder.” 

“Ah! What blunder, I should like to know?” exclaimed 
Clemenceau sharply. 

“ He ought to have attended the Te Deum in Notre Dame. 
He would have united France and would have taught a great 
lesson of unity and moderation. He might even have become 
Consul! ” 

“ Clemenceau has no such ambition.” 

w That is what I told her, Monsieur le President. ‘ But,’ 
she continued, * Clemenceau can retrieve his mistake when he 
goes to Strasburg. He must visit the Cathedral there. He 
can still unite France and give a great lesson of unity and 
moderation.’ ” 

“ She’ll be wrong again, the old woman. Clemenceau won’t 
go to the Cathedral. She did well to die.” 

“ I am not giving advice, Monsieur le President. I repeat 
only what I heard.” 

On the next Sunday, December 8th, M. Clemenceau entered 
Strasburg amid scenes of indescribable rejoicing. He went 
to the Cathedral and listened to an allocution from the Canon. 
On his return to Paris I heard him speak in the Chamber on 
his Strasburg visit. One passage of his speech ran: 

“ The days at Strasburg are graven in my heart. Among 
the crowd I saw an old nun who, with eyes downcast under 
her coif, softly sang the Marseillaise. Ah! gentlemen, that 
was a great lesson in unity and moderation.” 

I have since searched the French Journal Officiel for this 



258 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

passage in Clemenceau’s speech, but it seems to have been 
suppressed in revision. In any case, I heard it. Whether it 
was ever repeated to the Empress Eugenie I do not know. 
She certainly never knew that Clemenceau had been told 
what she said. Possibly Clemenceau himself thought no more 
of her. But the facts are as I have related them. 



CHAPTER XVII 


THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 
1919 

A FULL history of the Paris Peace Conference can never 
be written. Even when all documents and diaries have 
been published, and all contemporary records collated, there 
will remain gaps that nobody can fill. Especially will it be 
impossible to reproduce the atmosphere of Paris during the 
first six months of 1919; and, without knowledge of the atmos- 
phere, many of the words and deeds of the leading actors in 
that historic tragi-comedy must ever be incomprehensible. I 
do not propose to give yet another incomplete and partial ac- 
count of the Conference, but merely to set down, as faithfully 
as memory permits and with the aid of memoranda and articles 
written from day to day, my impressions of the Conference 
as I watched it from the beginning down to the presentation of 
the Peace Terms to the German delegates. 

From the middle of January to the 19th of May, 1919, 
I wrote daily to Lord Northcliffe, who was ill in the South of 
France, a confidential memorandum upon the work of the 
Conference. Of nearly all these memoranda I have copies. 
During the same period I was in general charge of the corre- 
spondence of The Times , though the main burden of the work 
was borne by Mr. George Adam, then its regular Paris corre- 
spondent, and his assistants. From January 16th onwards 
I wrote also — at Lord Northcliffe's urgent request — a 
leading article every day for the Paris edition of the Daily 
Mail . Communications between London and Paris were so 
difficult, and so thick was the mist that hid the inner workings 
of the Conference from the outside world that, on receipt of my 
first memorandum, Lord Northcliffe concluded that neither The 
Times nor any journal not published in Paris could comment 

259 



260 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


upon the Conference promptly and pertinently; and, in view 
of the part to be played in it by the British and American 
delegations, he thought it indispensable that comment upon it 
in English should be both pertinent and prompt. He believed 
that, for the time being, the Paris Daily Mail was “ the most 
important newspaper in the world,” because the English-, 
speaking delegates would read it “ with their morning coffee.” 

MASARYK. AS PRESIDENT 

Though the Conference was not to open officially until the 
middle of January, Northcliffe had been eager for our organ- 
ization to be working in Paris before the end of December; and 
Colonel House wished me also to be in Paris as early as pos- 
sible. Therefore, after greeting Masaryk in London on his 
arrival from New York as President-Designate of the new 
Czechoslovak Republic, I went on December 6th to make the 
necessary arrangements in Paris, where Seton-Watson and 
Chalmers Mitchell presently joined me for a time. It was a 
grief to us that C. J. Phillips, who had done splendid work 
as the Foreign Office representative at Crewe House, should 
not have been included in the personnel of the British delega- 
tion to the Peace Conference. With the modesty characteristic 
of many men of outstanding ability, he was anxious to resume 
his regular duties at the Board of Education and to let his war 
work end with the war. His last achievement had been to 
procure, at a moment’s notice, a Guard of Honour for the 
reception at Euston of Masaryk — a detail which the Foreign 
Office overlooked, though the United States Government had 
given Masaryk a Guard of Honour on his departure from New 
York. I shall not readily forget the mingled formality and 
informality of Masaryk’s arrival. The General Commanding 
the London district and a representative of the Foreign Office 
were present to receive him, but neither of them knew him 
even by sight. Seton-Watson, I, and other friends were stand- 
ing in the crowd at one end of the platform when the General 
in question came towards me, looked me up and down, and 
asked, in his best military voice: 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 


261 


“ Are you anybody in particular? ” 

“ No,” I answered. “I am foreign editor of The Times in 
general.” 

“ Oh 1 ” he exclaimed, and turned away. 

Presently he came back and asked whether I had ever seen 
the President; and when I admitted that I had seen him I was 
requested to point him out to the authorities. 

There was no need to point him out. As the train drew up, 
the same dear old Masaryk came out of it in a long ulster coat 
and a soft felt hat. He rushed towards me like the old friend 
that he was and is. Then the authorities took charge of him, 
made him review the Coldstream Company of Honour, of 
which the band, in its ignorance of the Czechoslovak National 
Anthem, was playing “ See the Conquering Hero Comes,” and 
deposited him in a War Office Staff car which had only two 
seats. They expected Masaryk to drive off in State, but he 
would not hear of it. He dragged me into the car after him 
and sat me on his knee while Osusky, now Czechoslovak Min- 
ister in Paris, took Seton- Watson on his knee. Thus, to the 
blank amazement of the authorities, Masaryk made his official 
entry into London. We left on the platform the General Com- 
manding the London District still wondering whether we might 
be “ anybody in particular,” and musing doubtfully over the 
strange behaviour of the wild men from Central Europe. 

ORLANDO AGAIN 

When I reached Paris a message was brought to me by an 
Italian friend that Orlando, the Italian Prime Minister, wished 
to see me. I replied that I could not see him because he had 
broken faith with me by not adhering to the policy of the 
Rome Congress, despite his official pledge to me in June. He 
answered that he hoped I would suspend judgment until he 
should have explained the circumstances, and asked me again 
to call upon him. I went; and, in a long conversation, dealt 
faithfully with him. He admitted that he had broken his 
pledge but urged that the difficulties had been such as to make 
it impossible for him to risk a Cabinet crisis in Italy by get- 



262 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


ting rid of Sonnino during the summer. He wanted, however, 
to put things again on to a sound footing in view of the Peace 
Conference and to ask my advice as to how it could best be 
done. I told him that the first step would be for Italy to 
grant, and to secure from the other Allied governments, recog- 
nition of the Yugoslav National Council as an Allied organiza-, 
tion both in order to strengthen the position of the Yugoslavs 
in regard to Serbia and to promote the constitution of a united 
Serbo-Yugoslav State on a basis of political and religious 
equality. He asked me to act as his intermediary with the 
Yugoslavs but, in view of his past tergiversations, I declined 
and told him he must deal personally with Trumbitch as Presi- 
dent of the Yugoslav National Council. Orlando said he was 
prepared to recognize the Yugoslav National Council and to 
promote its recognition by the other Allies ; and he asked me 
to invite Trumbitch to call upon him. 

This I also declined to do, saying that it would be an affront 
to Trumbitch, whom Orlando knew well, to t>e invited by a 
third party. Orlando then promised to invite Trumbitch him- 
self but asked me to ask Trumbitch to be in readiness next 
day to receive an urgent summons. This I did, after warning 
Orlando that Trumbitch would be leaving Paris next evening 
for Geneva to take part in critical negotiations with the Ser- 
bian Prime Minister, Pashitch, and with sundry Yugoslav 
leaders from Austria-Hungary, for the constitution of a Serbo- 
Yugoslav Coalition Government. Therefore, if Orlando wished 
to see him, he should lose no time. Orlando promised to send 
for Trumbitch next morning and to agree with him upon the 
recognition of the Yugoslav National Council. Trumbitch, 
w T hom I saw at once, promised to stay indoors all next day in 
readiness for Orlando’s summons. 

But next morning, when I called at 10 a.m. upon M. Philippe 
Berthelot, the Director General of the French Foreign Office, 
and spoke optimistically of the Italo-Yugoslav outlook, he 
said: 

“ That is excellent, as far as words go. But do you know 
what Orlando has done? He called upon Clemenceau at 8 
o’clock this morning and begged him, literally with tears in 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 


263 


his eyes, on no account to sanction any recognition of the 
Yugoslav National Council since Italy was determined not to 
recognize it; and I have reason to fear that Clemenceau has 
committed himself.” 

Thus, save for one episode towards the end of the Peace 
Conference, ended my relations with Signor Orlando. Once 
more he had played me false; and, as the sequel proved, there 
was method in his bad faith. That afternoon he attended a 
meeting of the Versailles Council; and, when it ended, about 
5:30, he asked BeneS, who was also there, to tell Trumbitch 
that he (Orlando) wished to see him at once. Though Benes 
reminded Orlando that Trumbitch had to leave for Geneva at 
7 o’clock, Orlando insisted that, at any rate, Trumbitch should 
be told. Motoring back to Paris in haste, Benes found Trum- 
bitch at 6:30 packing his trunk and about to start for the 
Gare de Lyon. It was, in fact, impossible, as Orlando well 
knew, for any meeting to take place; but Orlando’s object was 
to be able to say that he had asked Trumbitch to see him and 
that Trumbitch had not come. 

As a result of the Geneva Conference with Pashitch, Trum- 
bitch entered a Serbo-Yugoslav Coalition Cabinet as Foreign 
Minister and became a delegate to the Peace Conference. 
Signor Bissolati resigned from the Italian Cabinet at the end of 
December as a protest against the Orlando-Sonnino betrayal 
of the policy of the Rome Congress, but inadvertently gave the 
signal for a violent Italian Nationalist campaign in favour of 
the annexation of Fiume to Italy by saying, in a public speech, 
that though he had opposed the annexation of Dalmatia to Italy 
under the Treaty of London, he deplored the failure of the 
Treaty to assign to Italy an Italian city like Fiume. Thus 
tension grew between Italians and the Yugoslavs — a tension 
increased by the surrender of the Austro-Hungarian fleet to 
the Yugoslavs and by the ill-treatment in Italy of Yugoslav 
Naval officers who, confiding in Italian good faith, had crossed 
the Adriatic to inform the Italians that the Austro-Hungarian 
Fleet was ready to join the Allies. The ill-feeling thus engen- 
dered helped to poison the Peace Conference. With it and its 
effects I shall deal in due course. 



264 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


A PLAN FOR THE PEACE CONFERENCE 

While President Wilson was on his way to Europe in the 
George Washington — he landed at Brest on December 13, 
1918 — Colonel House asked me how long the Conference need 
last and whether I had thought about its procedure. I sketched 
out a rough plan and said that, on some such basis, the main 
work of the Conference ought to be finished and peace signed 
by the middle of April at latest. He agreed in principle, but 
suggested several improvements and said that, according to his 
reckoning, the Conference ought to finish by the end of March. 
The only merit of this plan was its simplicity. Its, defect was 
that it took no account of the personal ambitions and vanities 
of statesmen. It was, broadly, that oratory should be barred 
from the outset by a self-denying ordinance; that assent to the 
establishment of a league of nations should be the first point 
on the agenda of the Conference; that this assent having been 
secured, a nucleus for a league of nations should at once be 
formed out of the various inter-Allied bodies that had grown 
up during the war — such as the Maritime Transport Council, 
the Wheat Executive, and the other organizations composed 
of men who had already acquired the habit of working interna- 
tionally for a common purpose; that some political advisers 
and international jurists of repute should be associated with 
them; and that to the body thus formed all questions not sus- 
ceptible of immediate solution should be referred for impartial 
study and treatment. It was essential, I thought, that a league 
of nations should grow rather than be “ made,” that the Peace 
Conference should plant an acorn instead of trying to create a 
full-grown oak; and that, within a certain framework to be 
established from the beginning, the Covenant or Constitution 
of the League should be developed in the light of experience, 
not drafted in advance by theorists. The plan provided also 
for the immediate appointment of expert committees upon the 
principal questions of the Peace Settlement, these committees 
being instructed to report by definite dates to the heads of the 
Allied and Associated governments, and to cast the gist of 
their reports into the form of articles of a Peace Treaty. The 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 265 

heads of governments would take no part in the work of the 
expert committees but would sit as a Supreme tribunal for the 
decision of controverted points, settling them in accordance 
with the terms of the Armistice and with the declared war aims 
of the Allies. When this had be_en done, the Treaty should be 
communicated to the ex-enemy governments and signed, the 
settlement of the outstanding questions, under examination by 
the embryonic League of Nations, being reserved for annexes 
to the main Treaty. 

• Colonel House asked me further to adumbrate ideal solu- 
tions of the most urgent peace problems ; and I found his views 
very like my own. But we soon discovered that we had 
reckoned without our hosts. One of President Wilson’s first 
acts was to withdraw the American representatives from the 
Inter-Allied Maritime Transport Council and other bodies 
where they had done splendid work. He would not hear of 
maintaining these bodies as a nucleus for a working League of 
Nations. Moreover, the Allied governments seemed to lose all 
sense of the value of time, once the actual fighting was over. 
They thought it more important to celebrate the victory than 
to make victory permanent by framing a just and durable 
peace without delay. Even after President Wilson reached 
Europe, more than a month was allowed to pass. The Allied 
sovereigns visited Paris one after the other. President Wilson 
was feted there on his arrival, and soon afterwards went to 
London and Rome. Meanwhile, vast preparations were made 
to instal the various Allied Peace delegations in the largest 
Paris hotels. If, in point of size and equipment, the American 
“ Commission to Negotiate Peace ” left nothing to chance, the 
British delegation was a monster of wholly unwieldy dimen- 
sions. Its organizers achieved the miracle of housing many 
hundreds of delegates, officials, secretaries, experts, advisers, 
and detectives in a first-class hotel, the Majestic, and in feed- 
ing them in Paris with stale British food, badly cooked by 
British cooks and served by British waitresses. The Ameri- 
cans had likewise an hotel to themselves, the Crillon; the Ital- 
ians another, the Belgians another, until Paris became a city of 
delegations separated from and entrenched against ea<di other. 



266 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


So strict were the regulations governing access to these for- 
tresses that M. Clemenceau found himself “ held up ” by 
American detectives at the entrance to the Hotel Crillon, while 
Marshal Foch was placed under guard at the Hotel Majestic 
when seeking to attend a dinner to which the British Chief of 
Staff, General Sir Henry Wilson, had invited him. 

The estranging effect of these arrangements might not have 
been so great had a coherent plan of work been adopted by the 
Conference from the outset. The first formal sitting on Janu- 
ary 18th went well. President Wilson, Mr. Lloyd George, and 
M. Clemenceau all urged the need of working quickly. Unani- 
mously and without debate the League of Nations was placed 
first on the agenda of the next meeting. Mr. Lloyd George 
summed up the situation in a few words: “ During the war 
we have become friends. We must now work as brothers. The 
League of Nations is within you, here and now. It must be in 
our hearts. Let us work quickly and well.” The informal 
meetings which preceded the opening sitting had, to some ex- 
tent, cleared the ground and there seemed every prospect that 
Wilson, Lloyd George, and Clemenceau would work well to- 
gether. But one serious misfortune — which proved to be a 
disaster — befell the Conference through the illness of Colonel 
House. A severe attack of influenza incapacitated him for any 
work during this critical formative period. Consequently, his 
guiding influence was absent when it was most sorely needed ; 
and, before he could resume his activities, things had gone 
too far for him to mend. 

“ PUBLICITY ” AND “ THE SECRET TREATIES ” 

Apart from the question of organizing the Conference itself 
so that it could really work “ quickly and well,” the outstand- 
ing issues in the middle of January were those of the publicity 
to be given to the proceedings of the Conference, and the status 
of the Secret Treaties concluded between the European Allies 
during the war. Upon these questions Colonel House had very 
definite opinions. He wished the Conference to be organized 
efficiently, he desired the greatest possible degree of publicity' 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 


267 


for its proceedings, he disliked the Secret Treaties, and he knew 
that President Wilson held their fate in his hands. President 
Wilson was full of goodwill and was not, at first, disposed to 
be dictatorial. As his official apologist, Mr. Ray Stannard 
Baker has shown in his “ Woodrow Wilson and the Worl& Set- 
tlement, ” the President was, at the beginning in any case, 
eager for information and ready to take advice. But he did 
not know European statesmen and their methods as Colonel 
House knew them, nor had he the advantage of having been 
for some years in direct contact with those statesmen and of 
realizing the network of more or less secret engagements in 
which they were entangled. Consequently, he found himself 
handicapped when he came to meet men like Clemenceau, 
Lloyd George, Orlando, and Sonnino in personal conference. 
His strength lay in the appeal which his ideas and principles 
had made to public opinion in many European countries, but 
he knew too little of the workings of that public opinion to be 
able to handle it with a sure touch. I doubt, also, whether he 
ever realized that his popularity and prestige in Europe were 
due less to the fact that he was President of the United States, 
and therefore potentially the strongest man at the Peace Con- 
ference, than to the circumstance that he had expressed more 
aptly and more fully than any European leader the aspirations 
of the Allied peoples. 

As a solution of the “ Publicity Question / 7 daily conferences 
were instituted between authorized spokesmen attached to 
each delegation and representatives of the press. These con- 
ferences became known as “ the daily dope . 77 They yielded 
some enlightenment but more often served to mask rather than 
to reveal the truth. Though I attended none of them I received 
reports from most of them and often smiled at the inadequacy 
of the information given. On the whole, the American press 
was best treated; and I cannot quarrel with Mr. Ray Stannard 
Baker 7 s statement that “ the secret spring of Lloyd George 7 s 
policy — and his fear — throughout 77 the Conference was that 
he might be discredited by the divulgation in the press of his 
actual doings ; or that, while “ Clemenceau did not fear his 
press, because he could control most of it, Wilson could not 



268 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

control a single newspaper in America; but he never feai'ed the 
press because he thought he had American public opinion be- 
hind him.” 

Upon the Secret Treaties I find the following passage in my 
memorandum to Northcliffe of January 17, 1919: 

Some of President Wilson’s people have been asking me to put 
forward arguments which the President could use in overcoming Bal- 
four’s attitude towards the Secret Treaties. Balfour hates the Secret 
Treaties, knows that if they are complied with they will ruin the 
Conference, but simply folds his hands and says that “ England has 
signed and England must keep her word.” He is really trusting Wil- 
son to get him out of the hole, but Wilson does not want to put 
his foot down until he is quite sure where he is puttting it. So, I 
shall devote to-morrow’s leader in the Daily Mail mainly to suggest- 
ing a line that Wilson might take. 

The “ line ” was that, in December, 1916, President Wilson 
had asked the Allies to state openly what they were fighting 
for. In January, 1917, they made him publicly a joint reply. 
That reply was a factor in the entry of the United States into 
the war. It bound the Allies publicly to observe certain prin- 
ciples which automatically condemned the Secret Treaties. 
Which engagement was to stand, the anterior secret or the 
posterior public engagement? On January 5, 1918, Mr. Lloyd 
George defined British war aims in a manner likewise incom- 
patible with the Secret Treaties. On January 8, 1918, Presi- 
dent Wilson formulated his Fourteen Points. On November 
11, 1918, the Allies and the United States signed with Germany 
an armistice based on thirteen of those points, British adhesion 
to one point — concerning the “ Freedom of the Seas,” being 
reserved. On that basis the Allies and the United States were 
solemnly and publicly pledged to make peace. That basis 
could not, by any exercise of casuistry, be reconciled with the 
Secret Treaties. The article added: 

The Conference must first provide for the prompt establishment 
of a working league of nations and lay down the principles by 
which the multifarious territorial and political problems of the 
peace must be judged. At the very outset it must answer the 
question whether those principles shall or shall not take precedence 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 


269 


of the secret treaties concluded between European Allied Govern- 
ments in the earlier stages of the war. It is useless to mince words. 
Those treaties are as incompatible with the establishment of a 
league of nations as they are with the principles of nationality and 
of government by consent of the governed. Either the treaties or 
the League of Nations with its attendant principles must go — and 
it must not be the League of Nations or the principles. 

Among some Allied statesmen there prevails a facile formalism 
which says, “We have signed a secret treaty which binds us to give 
away something that belongs to others. It is, doubtless, unjust, but 
honour compels us to keep our word. Treaties cannot be for us 
mere scraps of paper.” This formal rectitude cannot stand against 
the superior rectitude of facts. He would be a hardy sinner against 
the light who should maintain, on the morrow of the greatest war 
ever fought for the redemption of humanity, that secret pacts con- 
cluded behind the backs of their peoples by unregenerate diplo- 
matists, possess a higher validity than the engagements subsequently 
and publicly made by those same diplomatists, or their successors, 
with the knowledge and assent of their peoples. Yet that is the 
position consciously or unconsciously taken up by those who defend 
the Secret Treaties. 

Unluckily, this question of principle was not settled from the 
start as it should have been. Afterwards it proved impossible 
to settle it at all. In the meantime, an ineffectual effort was 
made to organize the Conference in a businesslike way. On 
the British side Sir Maurice Hankey was placed at the head of 
the secretariate and began to do his work, within the limits 
imposed upon him, very efficiently. Mr. Lloyd George felt 
that the huge array of helpers, brought over from England to 
“ assist ” in the work of the Conference, was altogether exces- 
sive, and lie ordered all establishments to be cut down by 
twenty-five per cent. Colonel House was still too unwell to 
take part in and still less to guide this tentative effort at or- 
ganization. Nor could he be present at the initial sittings of 
what became known as the “ Council of Ten,” consisting of 
the five chief representatives and the Foreign Ministers of the 
Great Powers — America, France, Great Britain, Italy, and 
Japan — which sat until March 15th as the chief nucleus 
of the Conference. His illness delayed further the beginning 
of work upon the organization of the League of Nations which 



270 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


President Wilson wished House to take in hand, while he 
himself should be in reserve as a sort of arbiter. 

THE COUNCILS OF “ TEN ” AND “ FOUR ” 

In this respect, at least, President Wilson had the salutary 
idea firmly in his mind that heads of governments should not 
be in the fighting line but should act as a General Staff to the 
Conference and as a Court of Supreme Instance to decide dis- 
putes; but he lost his hold upon it when he consented to attend 
the daily sittings of the Council of Ten at the French Foreign 
Office. In these sittings he, and the other chief Allied dele- 
gates, blundered often. It soon became known that they had 
blundered and, still worse, the various deputations whom they 
examined collectively became witnesses to the CounciPs ignor- 
ance. Had those deputations been heard, in the first place, by 
committees of experts whose reports would have been available 
for the guidance of the Council, these drawbacks would have 
been avoided; but since the “ big men ” were engaged, from 
the start, in the rough and tumble of the discussions, there 
remained nothing in reserve for the decision of controverted 
points, and those who ought to have been the ultimate judges 
wore out their strength and their influence in wrangling over 
details. 


PRINKIPO 

The first bad blunder was made on January 22nd when Mr. 
Lloyd George suddenly proposed that Bolshevist delegates 
should be invited to Paris. A similar suggestion had been 
made by a Jewish writer ten days before in the Manchester 
Guardian. The notion was that the Bolshevists and the Rus- 
sian border peoples whom they were striving to destroy should 
cease fighting and meet in Paris alongside of the Peace Con- 
ference; but its practical effect would have been to accredit 
Bolshevism and to stimulate its growth in Central Europe. 
The French were aghast at this suggestion. Even President 
Wilson seems not altogether to have favoured the idea of 
bringing the Bolshevists to Paris, though he sanctioned a pro- 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE, I 


271 


posal that delegates from the Conference should be sent to 
meet them at Prinkipo in the Sea of Marmora. Even this 
compromise found little favour in the Peace Conference — 
especially when the Bolshevists replied by offering the Allies 
economic and commercial concessions in return for recognition. 
Americans generally felt the Prinkipo proposal to be as bad a 
mistake as that which President Wilson had made in Novem- 
ber, 1918, when he issued his appeal for a vote in favour of his 
Administration on the eve of the American Congressional Elec- 
tions instead of appealing to the electorate from a non-party 
standpoint as the head of the whole American people. That 
mistake he would hardly have made had Colonel House then 
been at his side, just as he would scarcely have launched the 
Prinkipo idea if House had been well enough to advise him. 
Indeed, I found “ the Colonel ” seriously perturbed at the 
President’s tendency to deal himself with questions which he 
did not really understand while immobilizing the whole Con- 
ference by his refusal to delegate work. Ultimately the Prin- 
kipo proposal broke down. The Bolshevists refused to cease 
fighting and the various governments established on the bor- 
ders of Russia declined to “ sit at the same table with bandits 
and murderers.” Dr. Kramarzh, who had just been ap- 
pointed first Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia and head of 
the Czechoslovak delegation in Paris, came to see me in a state 
of despair. He said, 

“ We have been working hard to consolidate the position in 
Czechoslovakia. The reaction against the attempt made to 
assassinate me at Prague brought all our Socialists on to an 
anti-Bolshevist basis. We have 50,000 Czechoslovak troops in 
Siberia who saved the situation there for the Allies and whom 
we have, with difficulty, persuaded not to come home at once. 
This quasi-recognition of the Bolshevists without our opinion 
having been asked may upset the whole position. It is an un- 
pardonable piece of lightmindedness.” 

“ BIG ” POWERS AND “ SMALL ” 

Dissatisfaction grew rapidly with the tendency of the “ big 
men ” to decide important matters without consultation of 



272 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

the smaller Allies. It was increased when, at the second plen- 
ary sitting, Clemenceau attempted to bully the small Powers 
and told them, in effect, to mind their own business. He de- 
clared that the Conference was mainly a concern of the Great 
Powers to which the Little Powers had graciously been in- 
vited; and that, had it not been for the desire of the Great* 
Powers to form a league of nations, it was not certain whether 
the small Powers would have been invited at all. Too many 
small cooks might not only spoil the broth but dangerously pro- 
tract the cooking. How this view tallied with the constant 
declarations of Allied statesmen that the war had been fought 
to uphold the rights of small nations, Clemenceau did not 
explain, even when the Belgian Foreign Minister, M. Paul 
Hymans, pluckily asked him to do so. 

Nor was this the only unpleasant feature of the second 
plenary sitting. It revealed, for the first time in public, rival- 
ries among the “ big men.” After President Wilson had made 
a good speech in moving the resolution that the League of Na- 
tions be created as an integral part of the Peace, Mr. Lloyd 
George attempted to score off him by an indirect reminder that 
the President had hitherto refrained from visiting the devas- 
tated regions of France, despite French wishes that he should 
go there. In my memorandum to Northcliffe of January 26th 
I find the following description of the proceedings: 

Wilson was quite evidently speaking to the people of the United 
States and to the masses in England, France, and Italy, far more 
than to the Conference itself. As a speaker he is superior to 
Clemenceau in manner and, I think, better than Lloyd George. He 
has a sense of style that neither of the others has, and he docs not 
overdo the acting. Only towards the end, when talking of the 
“ pulse ” of the world, he seized the pulse of his right hand with 
the thumb and forefinger of his left and held them up before the 
audience as though he were a doctor counting the beats. 

Lloyd George then got home with a left backhander on to Wilson’s 
jowl. His little speech was in his best platform style but he care- 
fully chose his illustrations from the devastated regions of France by 
way of reminding the French that he had been there and had been 
impressed while their great Wilson had persistently jibbed at the 
suggestion that he, too, should go in order to be educated for the 
Peace Conference. Within two hours it was confidentially announced 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 273 

that President Wilson would visit Rheims next day. Post hoc ergo 
propter hoc? 

Next came Orlando, who waved his arms like a windmill and tried 
to be pathetic in bad French. He ended with a flamboyant tribute 
to “ la France genereuse et glorieuse ” which sounded as though 
he were trying to do a deal with the French so as to get them to back 
up Italy over the Italian Secret Treaty pending the settlement of 
the row that seems to be brewing between Wilson and the Italians. 

A " row ” was indeed brewing. American experts on the 
Adriatic question had been busy preparing data for President 
Wilson's discussions with Orlando and Sonnino. The latest 
meeting between them had gone very badly; and the Italians 
threatened Wilson that they would withdraw from the Con- 
ference altogether unless he “ modified his principles.” At the 
same time I gathered from a Rumanian delegate that the Ital- 
ians and the Rumanians had made a compact to stand or fall 
together over the maintenance of the Secret Treaties. A pas- 
sage in my memorandum! to Northcliffe of January 27th began: 

Last Thursday Wilson was pretty nearly discouraged about the 
outcome of the Conference. He asked one of his most intimate 
friends whether it would be possible to pull the thing off. He had 
just had a stormy interview with Sonnino, who seems to have lost 
his temper and to have gone to the length of telling Wilson not 
to meddle in European affairs but to stick to his American last. 
When referring to Sonnino, Wilson clenched his fist and used un- 
parliamentary language. 

President Wilson was certainly growing nervous. Adverse 
American criticism of his management of the Conference and 
of his tendency to exclude from it Republican Senators and 
other outstanding public men not belonging to the Democratic 
Party, was beginning to tell upon him. Colonel House was 
also perturbed. The decline in the prestige of the President 
and of Lloyd George in consequence of the Prinkipo proposal 
and of their failure to bevel the edge of Clemenceau’s sharp 
tongue when he bullied the small nations at the second plenary 
sitting caused him much anxiety. I told him that I had been 
“ snowed under ” since that sitting by delegates of all the small 
Powers who came to “ weep into my waistcoat ” over Clemen- 



274 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


ceau’s harshness. Venizelos had led the procession, which had 
been continued by the Rumanians, the Belgians, the Czecho- 
slovaks, the Poles, and the Serbians. I had advised them not 
to conduct their defence in haphazard fashion by insisting, 
each country for itself, on its own special rights and claims, 
but to act together and to appoint one speaker — Venizelos for 
choice — to uphold the principles which the Great Powers 
themselves had enunciated, and to be reasonable in all their 
practical suggestions. They had seemed disposed to take this 
advice though they were one and all afraid of Clemenceau 
who, they thought, might take revenge upon them by mulcting 
them of territory or economically if they exposed themselves 
to his wrath. 

Colonel House said that he not only agreed with this advice 
but would do his utmost to improve the situation. He said, 
“ The President must be got out of the front line, and the 
system of leaving the small Powers in the cold must cease.” 
He added that he would invite their representatives to see him 
one by one and would consult them both upon broad issues 
and upon their special interests. There must be no more 
springing of sudden decisions upon the Conference by the 
Great Powers. He asked me to keep an eye on the small 
Powers, to inform him at once of any particular dissatisfaction 
among them and to make appointments for the disgruntled 
to see him quickly. 

Thanks chiefly to “ the Colonel,” the small Powers retrieved 
their position and secured representation on the various com- 
missions that were being appointed; and M. Jules Cambon, 
the former French Ambassador in Berlin, handled them with 
so much tact that they agreed to pass the sponge over Clem- 
enceau’s speech. 

This had hardly been done when a serious dispute arose be- 
tween the Poles and the Czechoslovaks. There had been a 
preliminary agreement between them on the question of the 
mining district near Teshin, or Teschen, in Austrian Silesia. 
France had recognized the right of the Czechs to occupy those 
districts provisionally, but the Czechs held their hand pending 
similar recognition from England and America. Meanwhile, 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 


275 


an Austrian-German paper published the news of the French 
authorization. Thereupon Polish troops took possession of 
the region and drove out the local Czechs. For a moment 
there was danger of serious fighting; but fortunately Masaryk 
in Prague and BeneS in Paris handled the matter so patiently 
that an immediate crisis was averted. I spent some busy 
hours in mediating between the Poles and the Czechs and 
ultimately helped to bring them together. 

This incident seems to have shocked Lloyd George who, as 
he was subsequently to explain to the House of Commons, had 
“ never heard of Teschen.” Indeed, one of the charms of the 
Council of Ten for the statesmen forming it, was that it ena- 
bled them to sit, ostensibly as a Board of Examiners but really 
as an elementary school, and to receive instruction upon ques- 
tion after question of which they had either “ never heard ” or 
on which their notions were hazy. To do him justice, Lloyd 
George was then engaged in a stiff contest with some of the 
Dominion Prime Ministers upon the disposal of the German 
Colonies. He himself had come to accept the principle that 
those colonies should be held in trust by the governments 
which might occupy them as mandatories of the League of 
Nations. By the end of January, Mr. Lloyd George had 
brought his colleagues of the Dominions into line; and on 
January 22nd I supported publicly the principle he had advo- 
cated. I urged also that “ the principle of trusteeship in regard 
to the German colonies and to Asia Minor is incompatible 
with the maintenance of the Secret Treaties in regard to 
Europe.” 

The question of the Secret Treaties had again become criti- 
cal. President Wilson had summoned to Paris Professor Her- 
ron whom he regarded as an authority on the Adriatic ques- 
tion. On January 28th, Herron saw Sonnino, who not only 
rejected all idea of a compromise upon the Secret Treaty of 
London, but talked of preparing for another war a few years 
hence and declared that Italy must guard herself against the 
Franco-Serbian Alliance that was certain to be formed against 
her. Mr. Balfour, whom Herron saw immediately afterwards, 
explained that England had to buy the support of Italy and 



276 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


Rumania during the war and could not refuse to pay the price 
even should it mean another war. Herron urged that the 
price ought not to be paid with other peopled property; but 
Balfour seemed to think the whole business hopeless unless 
Wilson could get England and France out of the mess. 

In this respect, however, the outlook was bad. By dealing 
at first hand with questions he did not really understand, 
President Wilson had lost ground, and had been obliged to 
accept improvised improvements upon the impracticable sug- 
gestions he made for the application of his general ideas. As 
I wrote in my memorandum to Northcliffe of January 29th: 

What is actually happening is that this Conference is becoming 
a parody of the Congress of Vienna, and that the work which was 
done there by Castlereagh, Talleyrand, and Metternich — who, after 
all, knew their business — is being attempted here by amateurs like 
Wilson and Lloyd George. 

But on January 31st I added: 

The more I think over Lloyd George’s attitude about the German 
colonies the more it seems to me that things may at last have taken 
a turn for the better. It is a great thing that the British Empire 
should have been first in setting an example of moderation and of 
self-control. Wilson should be able to use that example as an object 
lesson in dealing with other Powers; and as he must have some 
positive results to show his own people before he sails, there ought 
to be pretty rapid progress during the next ten days. 


THE SECRET TREATIES AGAIN 

Progress, however, brought Wilson and Lloyd George, with 
damnable insistence, back to the question of the Secret 
Treaties. Were those Treaties to override the principles of the 
Armistice or to be superseded by the Armistice? Had Presi- 
dent Wilson, at that moment, faced frankly this question, had 
he staked upon it American participation in the Peace settle- 
ment, he would undoubtedly have carried the day and have 
reduced all the partisans of the Secret Treaties to reason if 
not to silence. But he wavered and temporized, sought to 
promote by negotiation settlements in which he really aban- 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 277 

doned his unassailable position, and ultimately found himself 
driven to protest in a way that made his protest seem less an 
affirmation of principle than an expression of personal pique 
against one offending country — Italy. 

At the end of January the first serious territorial question — 
in Europe — came up for discussion before the Council of Ten. 
It concerned the conflicting claims of Rumania and Serbia 
to the Banat, the region comprising three counties of Hungary 
between the rivers Maros, Theiss, and Danube, and inhabited 
mainly by Rumanes on the East, Germans (or Swabians), and 
Magyars in the centre, and Serbs on the West. 

In the name of the Secret Treaty concluded in 1916 between 
Rumania and the Western Allies, Bratianu, the Rumanian 
Prime Minister, claimed the whole of the Banat. President 
Wilson asked him whether Rumanian claims went as far as 
Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, and Bratianu said they did. 
Vesnitch, the Serbian Minister in Paris, replied that Serbia 
could not recognize the Secret Treaty between the Allies and 
Rumania since she had not been consulted about it. Trum- 
bitch, as Foreign Minister of the new Serbo-Croat-Slovene 
state, or Yugoslavia, also declared that, for his country, the 
Secret Treaty with Rumania was null and void. On the 
strength of the principle of nationality he insisted that the 
eastern part of the Banat should be given to Rumania, the 
western part to Serbia and that, though the Germans and 
Magyar inhabitants of the centre were enemy peoples, they 
should be treated with justice and be consulted as to their 
future. 

Balfour, Clemenceau, Lloyd George, and Wilson all approved 
of this proposal. The Italians, Orlando and Sonnino, were 
irritated because they had agreed with Rumania to back her 
on condition that she should uphold the Secret Treaty of Lon- 
don between Italy, Great Britain, France, and Russia. Clem- 
enceau asked Bratianu whether Rumania would assent to the 
consultation of the German and Magyar inhabitants of the 
Banat, but Bratianu hotly refused. Trumbitch then put for- 
ward his proposal officially and indicated that it would be 
the basis of the whole Yugoslav attitude — meaning that the 



278 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


principles of nationality and of consultation of the peoples 
concerned would be invoked by Yugoslavia in regard to the 
Treaty of London also. At the end of the sitting he was 
warmly congratulated by Balfour, Clemenceau, and Wilson, 
while Sonnino held aloof. 

On the evening of February 1st, I wrote to Northcliffe: 

The question of the Treaty of London seems likely to come up 
soon. Wilson will certainly want to settle it before he leaves for 
the United States. If he can settle it on the lines suggested by 
Trumbitch he will be able to claim, 

(1) that the League of Nations is in a fair way to be established. 

(2) that the mandatory principle has been adopted in regard 
to the German colonies and Asia Minor; and 

(3) that the Secret Treaties have gone by the board. 

But if the Treaty of London is not quashed, his opponents will 
be able to twit him with having shied at the worst fence of all. 
Thus there should be interesting developments shortly. 


WILSON AS ARBITRATOR 

The “ interesting developments ” soon came. On February 
2nd, when I happened to be laid up with a chill, Major Bonsall, 
one of Colonel House’s assistants, came to me with an impor- 
tant message. President Wilson, he said, was worried by the 
refusal of the Czechoslovaks to sign a provisional agreement 
with the Poles, about Teschen and Silesia, that had been drawn 
up by the commissioners whom the Conference had appointed 
to go to Warsaw. He appealed to me to do my utmost to per- 
suade the Czechs to sign forthwith and not to wait for the 
agreement to be imposed upon them by the Conference. Bon- 
sall said also that the President wished to have the dispute be- 
tween the Italians and Yugoslavia settled within a week. He 
urged me to extract from the Yugoslavs their final terms so 
that, if those terms were just, the President might insist upon 
Italian acceptance of them. 

Neither task seemed likely to be easy. Fortunately, Benes 
came at once on receipt of a telephone message from me and, 
after some discussion, agreed to sign the provisional agreement 
about Silesia and to write officially to Clemenceau, as Presi- 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 


279 


dent of the Conference, to this effect. I have never known 
BeneS miss a point by pedantic insistence upon unessentials 
when something more essential was to be gained or retained 
by taking a common-sense view of things. 

Trumbitch, who came to see me in the evening, was a much 
harder nut to crack. He was also in a position more difficult 
than that of Bene§, who could always count upon the support 
of Masaryk for any reasonable course. Trumbitch, on the 
other hand, could always reckon that the Serbian Prime Min- 
ister, Pashitch, would, if possible put spokes in his wheel, and 
that the uncompromising views of some Slovenes and Croats 
would make his path thorny. Until long after midnight Trum- 
bitch and I fought the old battle over again. Notwithstanding 
all my friendly pressure, he declined to commit himself to any 
definite terms for a settlement with Italy. At last I told him 
that, unless the Southern Slavs came into line within a 
week, they would probably lose the support of Wilson and be 
left to the tender mercies of Italy, to whom England and 
France were bound by the Secret Treaty. If he would put for- 
ward a proposal that Wilson could adopt, I promised to get 
him either a personal interview with the President or a special 
hearing before the Council of Ten. 

Still Trumbitch wavered and hesitated. But next morning 
his friend and fellow delegate, Smodlaka, came to see me, after 
conferring with Trumbitch, and brought a map showing six 
different lines of possible settlement, including an extreme 
Southern Slav line on the west, and an extreme Italian line on 
the east. In his view, something between the two central and 
most moderate lines would be acceptable. Roughly, these lines 
left the centre of the Istrian Peninsula as debatable ground, 
while the eastern portion would go to Yugoslavia, and the 
coast from Pola to Trieste would go to Italy. Seton-Watson 
copied all the lines on to an official map which he took to 
Colonel House and to the American expert, Major Douglas 
Johnson, on my behalf. The Americans were delighted and 
proposed to give the map at once to President Wilson who was 
to see the Italian Prime Minister, Orlando, very shortly. 
Arthur Hugh Frazier, the well-known American diplomatist 



280 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


who was working with Colonel House as diplomatic aide-de- 
camp, came to tell me of this proposal; but I suggested that, 
if possible, the President should see Trumbitch before seeing 
Orlando. Frazier therefore arranged for Trumbitch to be re- 
ceived an hour before Orlando was due. 

When Trumbitch entered, Wilson showed him the map and 
asked him to say definitely what division of the debatable re- 
gion he would be prepared to accept. Trumbitch answered 
that Southern Slav confidence in Wilson’s sense of justice was 
so strong that he would be prepared to submit everything to 
Wilson’s arbitration and to accept his award. 

Wilson objected that he could not arbitrate except at the 
request of both sides, and urged Trumbitch to make an official 
proposal to Clemenceau, as President of the Conference, that 
the settlement of the question should be left in the President’s 
hands. This Trumbitch agreed to do; and, later in the day, 
brought me the drafts of his letters to Clemenceau and to 
President Wilson. 

In the meantime Wilson had received Orlando to whom he 
also showed the map. When told of the Yugoslav suggestion 
that the difficulty should be settled by American arbitration, 
Orlando accepted in principle but said that, before accepting 
officially, he must consult his Cabinet. But he gave the Presi- 
dent distinctly to understand that the official Italian decision 
was likely to be favourable. Nevertheless, I warned Frazier 
and Colonel House that Orlando’s personal undertakings might 
be one thing and effective Italian policy quite another. In 
fact, when the official letters from Trumbitch to Clemenceau 
and Wilson reached the Council of Ten on February 11th, 
the Italians were, or pretended to be, terribly upset. Clemen- 
ceau therefore postponed the discussion. After the sitting, 
Orlando told Frazier that, though the Southern Slav proposal 
embarrassed him horribly, he could not find a good reason for 
refusing it, and actually asked Frazier to suggest a reason. 
Frazier said that there was every reason why the Italians 
should accept, especially as the proposed arbitration affected 
only territories to which Italian claims were contested by 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 281 

the Southern Slavs, not to the whole of the territories claimed 
by Italy. 

Next morning, February 12th, Orlando went again to Wil- 
son, moaned and wept, said that the Southern Slavs had taken 
him by the throat, but finally promised to give a reply as soon 
as he had been able to consult the King and his colleagues in 
Rome on the 14th — the day when President Wilson was to 
leave Paris for the United States. In mid-ocean, however, 
President Wilson received by wireless the news that the Italian 
Cabinet had rejected his arbitration, Sonnino having appar- 
ently declared that he would resign rather than accept it. 
Thus the Italians missed a chance, not only of securing the 
goodwill of the United States but of setting an example which 
would have created a precedent for the treatment of other con- 
troverted territorial questions. Orlando’s inconsistency in sup- 
porting warmly the League of Nations Covenant and the prin- 
ciple of arbitration while declining to submit to arbitration the 
question of chief interest to Italy was typical of his whole 
character. 


THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS COVENANT 

So much has been written upon the drafting of the Covenant 
of the League of Nations, notably by Mr. Ray Stannard Baker 
in his “ Woodrow Wilson and the World Settlement,” that de- 
tailed reference to it would be superfluous. President Wilson 
was eager that the Covenant should be completed before he 
made his flying visit to the United States; but both he and 
Colonel House were then anxious that discussion of the Cove- 
nant should not delay indefinitely the drafting of the Peace 
Treaty itself. Therefore, from February 3rd until March 14th, 
the League of Nations Commission met almost daily or, rather, 
nightly, in Colonel House’s big room at the Hotel Crillon to 
frame the Covenant, the evening being chosen in order not to 
interfere with the work of the Council of Ten. House was 
chief impresario. President Wilson sat at the head of a long 
table with Orlando on his right, “ the Colonel ” sitting on the 
left between the President and the British representatives, 
Lord Robert Cecil and General Smuts. MM. Leon Bourgeois 



282 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


and Lamaude represented France; Baron Makino and Vis- 
count Chinda, Japan; while M. Venizelos, who had proved 
himself to be one of the few really big men at the Peace Con- 
ference, represented Greece and more than Greece. 

The most serious hitch came on February 11th when Wilson 
absolutely declined to accept the French demand for the crea- 
tion of an international force that should operate under the 
executive control of the League of Nations. M. Bourgeois 
urged the French view with much eloquence and pertinacity. 
Wilson claimed that the Constitution of the United States did 
not permit of any such limitation upon its sovereignty; and 
Lord Robert Cecil took a similar view in regard to the British 
Empire. The French stood their ground and declined to sur- 
render the claim which, in their view, could alone prevent the 
League of Nations Covenant from being a philosophical treat- 
ise, devoid of practical authority. Thus the sitting broke up 
towards midnight on February 11th, leaving the position very 
strained. That night, however, Mr. Oscar Straus arrived in 
Paris from New York with a mandate from ex-President Taft 
and the American League to Enforce Peace. As I wrote to 
Northcliffe, on Thursday, February 12th: 

Straus got to work at once with Bourgeois and, by all accounts, 
including his own, he seems to have found a way out of the difficulty. 
This morning Wilson was so upset that he decided to leave Paris 
to-morrow night and to go home without the League of Nations 
scheme in his pocket. But it is hoped that by to-night a text will 
have been produced to which everybody may be able to agree. If so, 
Wilson will not go until Saturday or Sunday night, and there will 
be a plenary sitting on Saturday at which Wilson will announce the 
draft Covenant. 

Simultaneously I wrote for the Paris Daily Mail of Friday, 
February 13th, an article called “ The Difficulty.” Its prin- 
cipal passage ran: 

The difficulty consists in the fact that the Peace Conference is 
engaged upon a double task. It has to frame a peace with Germany 
and to secure from her adequate reparation for her misdeeds. It 
lias also to frame a peace for the world at large that shall form a 
valid protection against fulure wars when the immediate lessons of 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. T 283 

this war have been forgotten or have become merely historical 
memories. 

Some Allied countries concentrate their minds almost exclusively 
upon the first aspect of this double task. Others think chiefly of 
the second aspect. The real difficulty is to find a common denomi- 
nator between the two. 

This common denominator can be found only in a wisely con- 
structed plan for the League of Nations. If the plan be made with 
exclusive reference to the conditions of the Great War and the 
problems to be solved in the immediate future, it may prove un- 
acceptable to some important nations and unworkable in practice. 
It must not be made, so to speak, solely under the influence of shell- 
shock. 

On the other hand, it must not be too far removed from the 
practical lessons of the war. It must not be too other-worldly. 

The way out is to create a healthy embryo and to let it grow. 
No man can tell exactly how it will grow. But it is certain that it 
will grow into a great and powerful organism exactly in proportion 
as the spirit in which it is created is honest and unselfish. 

If it be not made now, it may never be made and, for lack of it, 
the nations may revert to the bad old system of alliances and arma- 
ments, the parent of future wars and stepmother of civilization. 

This article seemed to me mild enough. Yet, early on the 
13th, Colonel House telephoned to ask me to come at once to 
the Hotel Crillon. I found him smiling but somewhat 
worried. 

“ You have got me into a pretty bad hole,” he said. 

“ How? ” I asked. 

“ That editorial of yours in the Daily Mail this morning.” 

“ Don’t you agree with it? ” 

“ I do. But there’s the rub. I agree with it so much that 
last night, towards midnight, when the sitting of the League of 
Nations Commission was over, I took 1 the Governor ’ [Colonel 
House’s name for the President] into a corner and told him 
what I thought. I pitched into him hard — and almost word 
for word in the language of your editorial this morning. Now, 
how am I to persuade 1 the Governor ’ that I did not write that 
article myself or that I did not ask you to write it so as to put 
public pressure on him? ” 

“ When did we last see or communicate with each other, my 
dear Colonel? ” I asked. 



284 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


“ More than a week ago, I think,” he answered. 

“ Well,” I said, “ I can produce convincing evidence that 
my article was dictated before 8 o’clock last evening and 
documentary proof that it was actually in type at the Daily 
Mail office by 10 p.m.; and you only spoke to the President at 
midnight.” 

“ I don’t doubt it,” said the Colonel, “ but it does not mend 
matters much. Nothing on earth will convince the President 
that I did not get you to write that article.” 

“ If the President is so touchy and will not listen to reason,” 
I replied, “ I am sorry for him and for you. But just as you 
have never interfered with my independence of judgment, so I 
cannot allow the President’s susceptibilities to interfere with 
it; and every time I may think that something ought to be 
said in the public interest, I propose to say it.” 

Unwittingly, I had, indeed, offended the President, who 
wished to plant a full-grown oak, to make a complete league 
of nations with a rigid constitution fixed in advance, whereas 
Colonel House, I, and others favoured the “ acorn ” method. 
Despite all explanations, the President remained convinced 
that, in some way or other, Colonel House had tried to put 
pressure upon him through me; and this incident, with others 
in regard to which the Colonel was equally, innocent, may well 
have helped to turn President Wilson against his wisest, most 
unselfish and most devoted helper. He certainly ignored 
Colonel House’s advice as to the treatment of Republican Sen- 
ators after landing in the United States. He invited, indeed, 
some of the leading Senators to dinner but, instead of con- 
sulting with them and listening to their views on the Cove- 
nant, he lectured and hectored them with the result that feel- 
ing in the United States became increasingly hostile to him. 
If the American Senate ultimately threw over the League of 
Nations Covenant and the Treaty, the fault lies chiefly with 
President Wilson’s mistaken tactics and autocratic disposition. 
Neither the biting articles in which eminent American writers 
like Frank Simonds represented the League of Nations as some- 
thing that had been “ put over on ” the President by astute 
British manoeuvres, nor Republican resentment of the Presi- 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 


285 


dent’s electoral message of November, 1918, would have 
availed to defeat the Treaty had President Wilson possessed 
a tithe of the tact and circumspection which made of Colonel 
House the ablest peacemaker at the Peace Conference. 

Nevertheless, Mr. Wilson overcame his obstinacy of Feb- 
ruary 12th and 13th sufficiently to agree to the draft Covenant 
and to present it to the Conference on February 14th in a hope- 
ful speech. “ Armed force is in the background of this pro- 
gramme, he said, “ but it is in the background, and if the 
moral force of the world will not suffice, the physical force of 
the world shall. But that is in the last resort, because this is 
intended as a constitution of peace, not as a league of war.” 
He also foreshadowed it as “ a League that can be used for 
cooperation in any international matter.” 

In commenting upon this sitting next day I wrote in the 
Paris Daily Mail : 

It was impossible to listen to the document which President Wil- 
son read, to his comments upon it and to the declarations of the 
Allied representatives, without feeling that the affairs of the world 
were being lifted into new dimensions. The old dimensions of na- 
tional individualism, secrecy of policies, competitive armaments, 
forcible annexations for selfish purposes and unqualified State sov- 
ereignty, were raised, if only for an instant, to a higher plane on 
which the organized moral consciousness of peoples, the publicity of 
international engagements and of government by the consent and 
for the good of the governed, became prospective realities. 

How long will the instant last? ... No man can yet say. All that 
can be said is that yesterday a sense that something new, something 
irrevocable, had been done, pervaded the Conference Hall. All the 
speeches were made in the tone of men who were not, indeed, afraid 
of their own handiwork, but were obviously conscious of the bold- 
ness of attempting to frame a new charter for civilized and un- 
civilized humanity. 


AN EDITOR “ IN PARTI3US ” 

While these big things were being done, things smaller, yet 
important to me personally, had happened. Towards the end 
of January, I had received a hint that a change was impend- 
ing in the editorship of The Times , and I had let it be known 



286 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

that I thought any change undesirable. More than once, in the 
course of 1918, I had helped to remove misunderstandings be- 
tween my friend and immediate chief, Mr. Geoffrey Dawson, 
the editor, and Lord Northcliffe; and I hoped that, on this 
occasion also, my view might carry weight. But, on February 
7th, I was informed that Mr. Geoffrey Dawson had resigned, 
that if I wished to accept the succession to him I could have 
it but that, should I decline it, a new editor might be chosen 
outside the staff of The Times. Simultaneously, a telegram 
from Lord Northcliffe asked me to meet him at Avignon on 
February 9th, to discuss the position. I met him there and, 
seated in the ferry boat that plies to and fro across the Rhone, 
agreed to accept the editorship on certain conditions. Of these 
the principal was that, after placing the facts of a situation 
before Northcliffe, and suggesting a policy in regard to them, 
I should, once he had agreed to the policy, be as free to carry 
it out as I had been in carrying out the policies I had sug- 
gested for propaganda against the enemy. I stipulated also 
that he should not initiate any policies of his own, or promise 
to any statesman or political party the support of any of 
the newspapers which he controlled, without previous con- 
sultation and agreement with me. I, for my part, should 
always inform him as fully as possible and consult him upon 
important matters whenever he might be within reach of tele- 
graph or telephone. 

To these conditions Lord Northcliffe agreed; but he added 
another which was calculated notably to increase my responsi- 
bility. He wished me to direct not only the policy of The 
Times but that of the Daily Mail and of his other political 
journals in order that his various newspapers might not advo- 
cate conflicting policies. He believed that, with tact, I could 
work harmoniously with the editors of those newspapers and 
thus consolidate their influence. 

This was a complication for which I had not bargained. I 
knew that since 1908, the relationship between The Times and 
the Daily Mail had been a constant anxiety to my pre- 
decessors, Mr. George E. Buckle and Mr. Geoffrey Dawson. 
The traditions and the methods of the two journals and, to 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 


287 


gome extent, the temperaments of their respective staffs, im- 
peded harmonious cooperation. Though their organizations 
were distinct and there was no financial connection between 
them, the tendency of the public was to bracket them together 
and to give some heed to the gibe that The Times was merely 
the threepenny edition of the Daily Mail. Yet, as long as 
Northcliffe controlled The Times , he was a living link, some- 
times a very live link, between the two journals. Since the 
position could not be altered, it had to be faced; and it seemed 
to me preferable that the policy of the Daily Mail should be 
laid down by the editor of The Times, in agreement with the 
editor of the Daily Mail, rather than that the Daily Mail 
should pursue, under Northcliffe’s personal influence, a policy 
divergent from that of The Times, and that The Times should 
now and again seem to be urged into line with its younger and 
more vivacious contemporary by proprietorial pressure. And, 
apart from considerations of dignity and consistency, I thought 
it better for the Daily Mail to be called a penny edition of The 
Times than for The Times to be called a threepenny edition of 
the Daily Mail . Therefore, after some reflection, I agreed to 
Northcliffe^ proposal and trusted to the loyalty of that good 
fellow and first-rate journalist, Mr. Thomas Marlowe^ the 
editor of the Daily Mail , to make cooperation not only pos- 
sible but harmonious — a trust which was abundantly justified 
throughout the difficult years that lay before me. 

Returning to Paris on February 10th, I waited until Presi- 
dent Wilson had sailed for America to go over to London and 
arrange with Geoffrey Dawson and my principal colleagues 
for the editing of the paper until the Peace Conference should 
be far enough advanced to make London rather than Paris the 
centre of public interest. Like me, all my colleagues regretted 
Dawson’s retirement even more than he regretted it himself, 
for he was very tired and the strain of the war had told heavily 
upon him. He, for his part, did all he could to smooth the way 
for me, and our relations were unimpaired by the change. I 
had always worked loyally with him and he with me — and 
when, in course of time, changes of circumstances made him 
my successor as I had been his, I handed back to him the pre- 



288 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

mier position in the journalistic world in the same spirit of 
confidence and friendship with which he had handed it to me. 

In deciding not to take over the active editorship at once, 
two considerations influenced me. Mr. G. S. Freeman, who 
had been Dawson’s assistant, consented to be my deputy and 
to edit the paper during my absence. His experience, goodwill 
and quiet efficiency were guarantees that The Times would not 
suffer, while his popularity with the staff ensured him their 
loyal support. On the other hand, I discovered in London that 
a thick mist veiled the Peace Conference from the British pub- 
lic. Despite voluminous telegrams from Paris, London was as 
out of touch with the inner workings of the Peace Conference 
as if it were being held at the other end of the earth; and 
since the fate of Europe and of a large part of the world out- 
side Europe was being settled in Paris, my duty was obviously 
to stay there as long as might be necessary. 

THE COVENANT AND THE TREATY 

So to Paris I returned, on February 24th, in the company of 
Lord Robert Cecil, who was eager to push forward arrange- 
ments for including neutral States in the League of Nations. 
During President Wilson’s absence in the United States, 
Colonel House was doing his utmost to make up for lost time 
and to get the Conference on to a business footing. His task 
was made easier by the simultaneous absence in England of 
Mr. Lloyd George, whose somewhat erratic methods had con- 
tributed quite as much .as the preconceived notions of Presi- 
dent Wilson to prevent efficient and expeditious work. Be- 
tween Mr. Balfour, the acting head of the British Delegation, 
and Colonel House, there was close and active sympathy. Un- 
like President Wilson, both of them wished the League of 
Nations to be put to work at once in an embryonic form and 
to be entrusted with some of the business which the Confer- 
ence itself could not do. Very curiously, the French were dis- 
posed to take President Wilson’s view that the League should 
not be constituted or set to work until the Covenant had been 
finally sealed, signed, and delivered. The issue lay really be- 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 


289 


tween the realists and the formalists, the men of life and the 
pedants. Having secured a decision on January 25th that the 
League of Nations should be an integral part of the Peace 
Treaty, President Wilson was anxious to subordinate the mak- 
ing even of a preliminary peace to the elaboration of a com- 
plete League of Nations Covenant. Colonel House, on the 
other hand, with much stronger practical sense than Wilson 
possessed, wished to conclude the main points of a general 
peace as quickly as possible, to set up a working league of 
nations in some form and to let it cooperate in making the 
final peace. Mr. Ray Stannard Baker's criticism on Colonel 
House (“ Woodrow Wilson and the World Settlement,” vol. I, 
p. 306) — 

Instinctively and emotionally he [Colonel House] was as truly lib- 
eral as the President and he was a loyal supporter of the League of 
Nations; but he had never thought through. He never quite knew 
where he was, but he was always optimistic. There was nothing 
hard, clear, sure, definite in his intellectual processes — 

is at once just and unjust. Colonel House was a practical man 
in a world of men — and the Peace Conference was essentially 
a world of men. President Wilson was an idealist logician 
and, at times, a pedant. He never understood the French 
proverb that “ Better is the enemy of good and, in striving 
after theoretical perfection, he frequently missed the prac- 
tically attainable. During his absence in the United States, 
Colonel House worked heroically to put the Conference on to 
the basis where it ought to have been placed from the outset; 
and he made such progress that, when President Wilson re- 
turned to Paris on March 13th, a little energy and common 
sense would have secured the conclusion of the Peace Treaty, 
in all its essential features, by the middle of April. 

But, in the meantime, President Wilson had compromised 
the chances of a rapid peace by his own action in the United 
States. Instead of following House's advice that he should 
take the chief Republican Senators into his confidence, explain 
matters to them tactfully, and seek to gain, if not their sup- 
port, at least their friendly neutrality, President Wilson had 



290 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


“ put their backs up.” Thereafter the struggle between them 
and him became a struggle to show who would be strongest, 
and the League of Nations issue fell to the level of an Ameri- 
can party contest. The chance of agreement upon the League 
was, in reality, compromised by President Wilson’s speech at 
the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on March 4, 1919, 
when he said, just before he sailed again for France: 

When that Treaty comes back, gentlemen on this side will find 
the Covenant not only in it, but so many threads of the Treaty 
tied to the Covenant, that you cannot dissect the Covenant from 
the Treaty without destroying the whole vital structure. 

Evidently the President did not imagine that the American 
Senate would ever dare to reject the Peace Treaty. But in 
playing American “ politics ” with an issue of supreme impor- 
tance, he practically condemned the Peace Conference to long 
months of unnecessary wrangling. So strong was feeling in 
Paris at the time that I wrote in the Paris Daily Mail of 
March 6th, the following article: 

Any statesman of sound sense and reasonable knowledge who has 
busied himself with the issues before the Peace Conference during 
the last two months, could sketch in twenty-four hours the main 
lines of a fair peace settlement. With the help of honest experts, 
he could fill in his sketch within a week. If the Allied statesmen 
cannot do jointly what most of them could do singly, they had 
better entrust one of their number with the task and leave him 
to do it. 

What would he do first? He would undoubedly recognize that 
the foremost requirement is now to make peace with Germany. He 
would take the reports of the Allied officers who have recently re- 
turned from Germany upon the conditions of that country and, in 
the light of them, would conclude that lack of food, lack of employ- 
ment, lack of means of transport, and lack of organization are likely 
to reduce the German people quickly to a state of chaotic anarchy 
unless remedies be applied. He would see that friendly peoples in 
Central Europe are in no better plight. He would recognize that, 
since effective remedies cannot be applied until the peace preliminaries 
are signed, the preliminaries must be presented at once to the enemy. 
To this end he would instruct the expert military, naval, economic, 
and political advisers of the Allied governments to complete these 
preliminaries and would communicate them forthwith to the enemy 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 291 

representatives, insisting that they must be accepted within ten 
days of presentation. 

Upon their acceptance he would send into Germany Allied military 
and civilian commissioners to see that the terms were carried out, 
on pain of complete suspension of the supplies which should be made 
available from the moment the preliminaries were signed. 

He would then settle, in the light of the reports of the special 
commissioners of the Conference, such territorial questions between 
the Allies as are ripe for immediate treatment, having regard in 
each case to the principle of nationality and of government by 
the consent of the governed and to the vital economic interests of 
the peoples most concerned. 

Questions not ripe for immediate settlement he would refer to 
the Executive Council of the League of Nations which should be 
appointed and begin to work pending the final revision of the 
Covenant. 


COLONEL HOUSE AND PRESIDENT WILSON 

Colonel House told me on March 6th that he agreed entirely 
with this article. He was full of hope that, when he should 
meet the President at Brest on March 13th, the work which 
had been done would receive full approval, and that matters 
would then go forward rapidly to a successful conclusion. 
But, when he met the President, he met also a bitter disap- 
pointment. He found him determined to put the whole Cove- 
nant into the text of the Treaty before any Peace were con- 
cluded, and to secure the adoption of all amendments to the 
Covenant before other and more pressing matters were settled. 
Colonel House’s affection for the President led him to give 
w r ay on this point and to assent, however reluctantly, to the 
wrecking of the work he had done during the President’s 
absence. Mr. Ray Stannard Baker writes on this point 
(“ Woodrow Wilson and the World Settlement,” vol. I, pp. 
307, 308) : 

Colonel House met the President when he arrived at Brest and 
rode up to Paris with him. From this time onward there began 
to grow up a coldness between the two men to which I shall refer 
again, for it had an important and unfortunate bearing upon the 
Peace Conference. This coldness was not due to trivial personal 
causes or to little mean jealousies, as popularly reported, although 



292 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


it had, indeed, personal and trivial aspects, but was based upon far 
deeper failures in understanding and action. 

When all is said, the course of the Council during that crucial 
month was more stupid than designing. It was tremendously 
human. Wilson, the leader and prophet, who was demanding such 
discipline and self-sacrifice, had gone away; they set up a golden 
calf. They slipped back into courses and methods they understood; ( 
they took what seemed the easy way to get what they wanted. 

The divergence of view between House and Wilson at this 
juncture was the second disaster to the Peace Conference. The 
first had been House’s illness at the beginning of the Con- 
ference. Though House bore up and did his utmost, as I 
shall show, to push things forward and to work loyally with 
the President when once he had subordinated his own better 
judgment to Wilson’s political necessities, hope of bringing 
things to a quick and satisfactory conclusion was all but lost. 

THE FACTOR OF TIME 

It has sometimes been argued that President Wilson’s car- 
dinal mistake was in deciding to come to Europe at all. For 
many reasons, it would certainly have been better had he 
remained at Washington and had he placed Colonel House at 
the head of an American delegation on which both of the prin- 
cipal American parties would have been represented. Colonel 
House knew much of Europe. President Wilson knew little. 
House had proved his ability to deal successfully with Euro- 
pean statesmen of all countries. Wilson was temperamentally 
unfitted for direct personal intercourse with them. House, 
though a Democrat, possessed the confidence of many Re- 
publican leaders who regarded Wilson with suspicion if not 
with dislike. Wilson, moreover, was far more of a ^poli- 
tician ” than House, though House was a greater master of the 
political game than he. House, besides, was unselfish and self- 
effacing, whereas Wilson was self-assertive. If Wilson had not 
chosen to come to Europe, House would probably have insisted 
that the Peace Conference should meet within a few weeks of 
the Armistice; and he would certainly have placed the work of 
the Conference upon a sound basis from the beginning. He 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. I 293 

knew that, while the Conference would be talking and deciding, 
things would be moving, and that a situation which would be 
amenable to firm treatment in December, 1918, or January, 
1919, might get out of hand by February or March. He 
dreaded the effect upon Wilson of personal contact with the 
details of the European situation, and though I never heard 
him discuss the President's decision to come to Europe, his 
constant wish was to keep the President as much as possible 
out of the fray and to preserve for him in Pars the advantages 
of detachment and perspective that he would have enjoyed in 
Washington. 

This question has, however, merely academic interest. The 
full story of Colonel House's efforts to serve the President, 
the United States and the interests of peace, amid difficulties 
almost insuperable, could be told by himself alone, and he is 
probably too modest ever to tell it. He may not have had 
the President’s hard grasp upon the principles of the kind of 
peace Wilson desired, but he was no less devoted than he 
to the League of Nations as the only international safeguard 
against a recurrence of war. Like Wilson, too, he wished the 
League to be inseparable from the Peace though he did not 
think it essential that every “ i ” should be dotted and every 
“ t ” crossed in a complete Covenant before the League were 
allowed to work. He seems to have conceived the framework 
of the League as something more closely akin to the British 
Constitution than to the Constitution of the United States, 
something that could grow from small beginnings into a large 
beneficence and gain authority and experience from work 
actually done. In a word, he was a practical as distinguished 
from a philosophical idealist; and President Wilson never did 
a worse day’s work for himself, or for the cause he wished to 
serve, than when he overrode House’s views on March 13, 1919. 

Many efforts had been made before to drive a wedge between 
Wilson and House. Some American financial interests had 
done their worst without success. Mr. Lloyd George had re- 
peatedly sought to eliminate the influence of Colonel House 
so that he might deal the more easily with the President. 
But until the President was induced to suspect that, in his 



294 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

eagerness to conclude a satisfactory preliminary peace and to 
set the League of Nations to work at once, House was depart- 
ing from “ Wilsonian principles,” these efforts were of little 
avail. Thereafter Wilson gradually gave ear to other coun- 
sellors, until the final breach was effected by the influence of 
those who were jealous of House’s eminence, and by gossip, 
mongers who alleged that Colonel House’s son-in-law, Gordon 
Auchincloss, who worked with him at the Hotel Crillon, had 
committed the unpardonable sin of speaking disrespectfully of 
the President. The idea of lese-majeste might have been over- 
thrown in Europe by the war, but it certainly survived in the 
immediate neighbourhood of President Wilson during the 
Peace Conference. One of its effects was to cause Colonel 
House to be condemned unheard. The only real excuse for 
President Wilson’s conduct towards his wisest and most 
faithful friend, as for many of his strange fits of obstinacy 
and petulance after his return from the United States to Paris, 
is that the malady which presently laid him low was already 
upon him. 



CHAPTER XVIII 


THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II. 

1919 

D URING President Wilson's absence in the United States 
the American delegation in Paris had worked hard at 
the question of the left bank of the Rhine. The ideas ad- 
vocated in the Foch military memorandum of January 10th 
had caused much misgiving, though the Memorandum itself 
was not presented officially to President Wilson until March 
14th. The possibility of setting up a Rhineland Republic was 
being discussed and, in my report to Northcliffe on March 3rd, 
I deprecated any territorial arrangements that might create 
“ fifteen or twenty years hence a casus belli over what would 
be a natural movement towards German national reunion.” 
Throughout the first fortnight of March this question was 
uppermost. On March 14th I wrote to Northcliffe: 

It is very important that we should not back up any French ideas 
of permanent annexation or practical annexation on the left bank 
of the Rhine, but it is equally important that the French should 
not get the impression that we are fighting them about the left 
bank of the Rhine in order to squeeze concessions out of them in 
regard to Syria. My own view, which is very largely shared by 
reasonable Frenchmen and by Americans, is that, whatever Allied 
occupation of the left bank of the Rhine there may be, should be 
made contingent, as regards time, upon the payment of reparation 
by Germany; that the Rhine should be treated as an international 
stream which cannot be fortified; and that there should be no Ger- 
man fortifications w r ithin thirty miles of the right Bank. 

Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Philip Kerr, his confidential 
secretary, were persistently opposed to the French view; but 
instead of seeking a formula that would satisfy French de- 
mands for security while safeguarding German territorial 

295 



296 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


integrity in future, they sought to lay down hard and fast 
principles that were in violent conflict with French ideas. 
President Wilson, for his part, declined to sanction the military 
terms of the peace with Germany on which Colonel House and 
the American experts had agreed; and he gave out a notice 
that the League of Nations Covenant, amended and com-, 
pleted, must form part of any Peace Treaty. At first Lloyd 
George seemed to support him. On March 17th, however, 
Lloyd George was so upset by the victory of an Opposition 
candidate in the by-election at West Leyton that he proposed 
to return to London at once and to leave the Peace Conference 
to look after itself. For some reason or other he also became 
angry with Wilson. Violent attacks upon the President ap- 
peared in a number of British Coalition organs. These attacks 
came back from London by wireless and offended Wilson 
deeply. In my report to Northcliffe on March 18th I wrote: 

This afternoon I met House who took me for a walk and talked 
very earnestly. He gave me to understand that the President 
attributed these attacks to Lloyd George and told me of a very 
straight talk he (House) had had with Lloyd George earlier in the 
afternoon. I hope the storm will blow over before real harm is 
done. 


THE QUESTION OF DANZIG 

Meanwhile, the British press attacks upon Wilson continued, 
especially in the Daily Express and the Daily Telegraph. 
Again they came back by wireless. Lord Robert Cecil checked 
them, however, by informing the British correspondents in 
Paris, on behalf of the Prime Minister, that the British delega- 
tion was in favour of incorporating the League of Nations 
Covenant' immediately in the peace terms. But next day, 
March 19th, another incident occurred. The Council of Ten 
received the report of the special Commission on Poland which 
had worked extremely well under the Chairmanship of Sir 
Eyre Crowe. The report w r as unanimous. It assigned the port 
of Danzig to Poland and gave the Poles an enclave of several 
hundred thousand Germans in East Prussia. Wilson agreed 
that this was inevitable, since Danzig was the only available 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 


297 


Polish outlet to the sea. Lloyd George had also expressed 
privately his agreement with the report and had actually in- 
formed a British member of the Commission on Poland that 
he would support it in the Council, of Ten. But, when the 
Council met, Lloyd George moved that the report be rejected 
or sent back to the Commission for revision. Surprise was 
felt in the Council at this sudden change, and there was much 
speculation among its members and in the French press as 
to the cause of it. The underlying idea of the proposed Danzig 
settlement had been that, if the Conference stretched a point 
in order to satisfy a clear economic need of Poland, it would 
be the better able to insist upon a more moderate assessment 
of Polish claims to the east, and thus to prevent constant 
friction between the Poles and their eastern neighbours. 
Nevertheless, the Danzig report was sent back to the Com- 
mission, which confirmed it unanimously. Lloyd George’s 
attitude irritated Wilson intensely. One of his intimate ad- 
visers told me, on March 21st, that “ The President is coming 
to feel more and more that the only way out is for him to 
stick absolutely to his principles, to make a firm stand as the 
protector of small nations, and have nothing to do with all the 
bargaining and haggling that is going on.” On the same day 
Mr. Lloyd George received the British journalists and departed 
from what he had authorized Lord Robert Cecil to say on 
March 18th, in the name of the British delegation, as to the 
incorporation of the League of Nations Covenant in the Peace 
Treaty. When he was reminded of Lord Robert Cecil’s declara- 
tion he exclaimed, “That’s awkward!” and changed the 
subject. 

Before meeting the British journalists, Mr. Lloyd George 
had, that afternoon, taken exception in the Council of Ten 
to the language of the French press. People in that room, he 
declared, had been informing the French press about the 
attitude of the various Peace delegations towards the Polish 
question. Consequently, slurs upon him had appeared in three 
French papers. This sort of thing made Paris impossible as 
a meeting place for the Conference. If it continued he would 
demand that the Conference be' removed to a neutral country. 



298 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


He must insist upon an enquiry to find out who had informed 
the French press, and he demanded satisfaction for the reflec- 
tions made upon him. An enquiry was ordered — without 
much result. Instructions were also issued to all British and 
French delegates not to receive or to communicate with any 
representative of the press. 

One effect of this incident was to lead to the formation 
of the Council of Four, composed of President Wilson, M. 
Clemenceau, Mr. Lloyd George, and Signor Orlando, though 
the reason privately given at the moment was that Sonnino’s 
obstinacy had become so great an impediment to work in the 
Council of Ten that it had been decided to eliminate him 
by confining important discussions to the British, French, 
and Italian Prime Ministers and the President of the United 
States. True, the Council of Four, properly so-called, was 
not instituted until later, but its beginning was certainly a 
secret meeting on March 20th, at Mr. Lloyd George’s flat, 
between President Wilson and the chief British, French, and 
Italian representatives. This meeting discussed the question 
of Syria and the Franco-British agreements in regard to it, as 
well as the Secret Treaties in general, with the result that 
confusion became worse confounded. President Wilson came 
out of the meeting cursing everybody and everything, saying 
that he had done nothing but talk for forty-eight hours and 
was getting disgusted with the whole business. Colonel House 
said to me ironically, “ We are going along so fast that it 
makes me giddy. Snails are race horses compared with 
these big statesmen.” His son-in-law, Gordon Auchincloss, 
added that the Conference in general was in such a state 
of muddle that unless the Presient could soon get on to firm 
ground the whole thing might go to pieces. He asked me 
for advice which he could forward to the President as to 
the best line to take. 

“ The President,” I said, “ should not attempt to dictate to 
Europe, but he could say: * I came to Europe as the exponent 
of certain general principles which the Allies accepted as the 
basis of the peace and which, I am convinced, the American 
people as a whole accept. During the last two months I have 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 


299 


studied the practical application of those principles to a 
number of concrete problems. With the help of my expert 
advisers, who have been in close touch with your advisers, 
I now know precisely what solutions of those problems would 
be in accordance with my principles; and I am prepared to 
formulate those solutions in twenty-four hours. I cannot 
recommend the American people to guarantee a Peace based 
on any other solutions. I have no wish to force my principles 
upon you but I cannot ask the American people to be parties 
to European diplomatic arrangements contrary to the spirit 
in which the United States entered the war and to that in 
which it w’ishes to see Peace made. Therefore I wish to know 
whether you, too. are ready to agree to the solutions which I 
propose? ’ ” 

Auchincloss caused this advice to be conveyed to the Presi- 
dent. I followed it up with a leading article in the Paris 
Daily Mail on March 24th of which the conclusion ran: 

Talking will not save the Peace Conference. If talking could 
serve, the Russian Revolution would have produced an earthly 
paradise. Clear thought is needed, and action waiting upon firm 
decision. The Conference cannot stay where it is, it must either go 
backwards or forwards. If it does not go forwards it will assuredly 
go backwards. Someone must give it a lead. If the lead be strong 
and clear, the Allied and Associated peoples will reckon quickly 
with those who lag behind. 

Mr. Henry White, one of the American delegates, tele- 
phoned early on the morning of the 24th to thank me for 
this leading article which, he said, expressed exactly the feel- 
ing of the whole American delegation. The bulk of the British 
delegation agreed with it also and washed to get on with the 
work. But adverse influences were too strong for them. The 
Bolshevist revolution at Budapest and the threat of further 
revolutions in the Balkans caused general disquietude. The 
Anglo-French dispute about Syria involved as much loss of 
time as the Italian refusal to contemplate any Adriatic settle- 
ment that should not assign Fiume to Italy. The question 
of American acceptance of a mandate in Armenia was also 
under discussion; and Sinn Fein emissaries, some of them of 



300 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Italian origin, began to stir up the Conference on the subject 
of Ireland. 


THE SYRIAN PROBLEM 

But the two main questions at that moment concerned the 
ieft Bank of the Rhine, and Syria. On the Syrian question, 
I had been working since November, 1918, when I had warned 
Lord Derby, the British Ambassador in Paris, that unless a 
small Anglo-French Commission were set to work upon it 
before the Peace Conference met, so as to hammer out some 
acceptable solution in advance, it might poison the whole 
Conference. He replied that it could not be done. Such 
work was too important for junior officials, and senior offi- 
cials had no time for it. Subsequently the question had be- 
come envenomed by the British pan-Arab policy, of which 
Colonel Lawrence was the chief exponent, and by the arrival 
of the Emir Feisal as a delegate to the Peace Conference, ac- 
companied by Colonel Lawrence. The French had charac- 
teristically shown their annoyance by treating Feisal with 
studied contempt; and, towards the end of March, Feisal made 
up his mind to depart. In order to avoid this breach, which 
would probably have led to hostilities between the Arabs and 
the French in Syria, I made an effort to bring the chief ex- 
ponents of the British and the French views together. Colonel 
Lawrence, Sir Valentine Chirol, and Miss Gertrude Bell met, 
in my rooms, M. Robert de Caix, afterwards French Commis- 
sioner in Syria, M. Philippe Millet, foreign editor of the 
Temps , M. Henri Brenier, Director-General of the Marseilles 
Chamber of Commerce and an expert on Syria, M. Sabatier 
d’Espeyran of the French Foreign Office, and M. Auguste 
Gauvain, the eminent foreign editor of the Journal des De- 
bats . For nearly six hours we discussed the question in all 
its aspects and reached so large a measure of agreement that 
Colonel Lawrence undertook to advise Feisal not to leave 
Paris, while the French undertook to get into direct touch 
with Feisal. In this way it was hoped to avoid the necessity 
of sending out a special Commission from the Conference to 
Syria, and to settle the question in Paris. 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 


301 


THE BULLITT MISSION 

The American delegation promptly asked me for a memo- 
randum on these Syrian conversations and sent it to the Presi- 
dent, an extra copy being made for the American colonial 
expert, Mr. Beer. But, before matters could proceed far, a 
flutter was caused by the return from Moscow of Messrs. 
William C. Bullitt and Lincoln Steffens who had been sent to 
Russia towards the middle of February by Colonel House and 
Mr. Lansing, “ for the purpose of studying conditions, political 
and economic, therein for the benefit of the American Com- 
missioners plenipotentiary to negotiate peace.” Mr. Philip 
Kerr and, presumably, Mr. Lloyd George knew and approved 
of this mission. Mr. Bullitt was instructed to return if possi- 
ble by the time President Wilson should have come back to 
Paris from the United States. Potent international financial 
interests were at work in favour of the immediate recognition 
of the Bolshevists. Those influences had been largely re- 
sponsible for the Anglo-American proposal in January to call 
Bolshevist representatives to Paris at the beginning of the 
Peace Conference — a proposal which had failed after having 
been transformed into a suggestion for a Conference with 
the Bolshevists at Prinkipo. The well-known American Jew- 
ish banker, Mr. Jacob Schiff, was known to be anxious to se- 
cure recognition for the Bolshevists, among whom Jewish in- 
fluence was predominant; and Tchitcherin, the Bolshevist 
Commissary for Foreign Affairs, had revealed the meaning of 
the January proposal by offering extensive commercial and 
economic concessions in return for recognition. At a moment 
when the Bolshevists were doing their utmost to spread revo- 
lution throughout Europe, and when the Allies were supposed 
to be making peace in the name of high moral principles, a 
policy of recognizing them, as the price of commercial con- 
cessions, would have sufficed to wreck the whole Peace Con- 
ference and Europe with it. At the end of March, Hungary 
was already Bolshevist; Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and 
even Germany were in danger, and European feeling against 
the blood-stained fanatics of Russia ran extremely high. 



302 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Therefore, when it transpired that an American official, con- 
nected with the Peace Conference, had returned, after a week’s 
visit to Moscow, with an optimistic report upon the state of 
Russia and with an authorized Russian proposal for the vir- 
tual recognition of the Bolshevist regime by April 10th, dis- 
may was felt everywhere except by those who had been privy 
to the sending of Mr. Bullitt. Yet another complication, it 
was apprehended, would be added to the general muddle into 
which the Conference had got itself, and the chances of its 
succeeding at all would be seriously diminished. 

On the afternoon of March 26th an American friend inad- 
vertently gave me a notion that a revival of the Prinkipo 
proposal, in some form, was in the air. That evening I wrote 
to Northcliffe: 

The Americans are again talking of recognizing the Russian 
Bolshevists. If they want to destroy the whole moral basis of the 
Peace and of the League of Nations they have only to do so. 

And, in the Paris Daily Mail of March 27th, I wrote strongly 
against any proposal to recognize 

the desperadoes whose avowed aim is to turn upside down the whole 
basis of Western civilization. 

That day Colonel House asked me to call upon him. I 
found him worried both by my criticism of any recognition of 
the Bolshevists and by the certainty, which he had not pre- 
viously realized, that if the President were to recognize the 
Bolshevists in return for commercial concessions his whole 
“ idealism ” would be hopelessly compromised as commercial- 
ism in disguise. I pointed out to him that not only would 
Wilson be utterly discredited but that the League of Nations 
would go by the board, because all the small peoples and 
many of the big peoples of Europe would be unable to resist 
the Bolshevism which Wilson would have accredited. I in- 
sisted that, unknown to him, the prime movers were Jacob 
Schiff, Warburg, and other international financiers, who wished 
above all to bolster up the Jewish Bolshevists in order to 
secure a field for German and Jewish exploitation of Russia. 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 


303 


Colonel House argued, however, that without relations of some 
kind with the Bolshevists it would be impossible to prevent 
the utter ruin of Russia and the starvation of thousands of 
the best Russians who were without food; and that, if sup- 
plies could be sent to Russia under proper control, the needy 
might be relieved and the Allied and Associated Governments 
might get trustworthy information of the true position in 
Russia. He asked me therefore to meet him and Auchincloss 
next morning to see if some sound line of policy could not 
be worked out. This I agreed to do; but, shortly after leav- 
ing Colonel House, information reached me that Mr. Lloyd 
George and President Wilson would probably agree next 
morning to recognize the Bolshevists in accordance with Mr. 
Bullitt’s suggestions. Feeling that there was no time to lose 
I wrote, forthwith, a leading article for the Paris Daily Mail 
of March 28th, called “ Peace with Honour.” Its principal 
passage ran: 

The issue is whether the Allied and Associated Governments shall, 
directly or indirectly, accredit an evil thing known as Bolshevism. 
Prospects of lucrative commercial enterprise in Russia, of economic 
concessions and of guarantees for debts, are held out to them if 
they will only fall down and worship Lenin and Trotsky. 

There is one man to whom such temptation cannot appeal. His 
name is Woodrow Wilson. Since he led his country into war against 
German Imperialist militarism and all the forces of international 
finance and unmoral commercialism that supported it, he has done 
more than any Allied or Associated statesman to accredit sane 
idealism as a positive force in the life of nations. He has stood 
out as the champion of small peoples and of their rights. He 
threw the whole strength of the American people into the struggle 
in support of the ideals he formulated for the world, and he 
promised them a peace with honour and justice. Were he to bring 
them a peace with commercialism, belief in the sincerity of Anglo- 
Saxon idealism would die the world over. 

Who are the tempters that would dare whisper into the ears 
of the Allied and Associated Governments? They are not far 
removed from the men who preached peace with profitable dishonour 
to the British people in July, 1914. They are akin to, if not 
identical with, the men who sent Trotsky and some scores of 
associate desperadoes to ruin the Russian Revolution as a democratic, 
anti-German force in the spring of 1917. They are the spiritual 



304 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

authors of the Prinkipo policy, and they it is who, in reality, in- 
spired the offer of Tchitcherin, the Bolshevist Commissary for for- 
eign affairs, to make economic and commercial concessions to the 
Allies in connection with the Prinkipo Conference. . . . 

That intrigue failed. It may be revived. Lenin, who is a 
sinister fanatic, would promise any price to secure the recognition 
he needs in order that his agents and helpers in Allied and Associated 
countries may be able to raise their heads and openly to encompass 
the ruin of ordered democratic civilization by claiming that what 
Allied and Associated Governments had sanctioned in Russia is 
lawful and laudable elsewhere. . . . 

The establishment of just conditions of peace will by itself help 
to counteract Bolshevism. But the essential thing is that the Allied 
and Associated Governments should keep their escutcheon clean and 
be utterly resolved to have no peace that is not a true peace with 
honour. 

I had hardly sent this article to the printers when an 
American friend, Mr. Charles R. Crane, who had been dining 
with President Wilson, called to see me. He showed great 
alarm at the turn things were taking. “ Bullitt is back,” he 
said, “ and the President is already talking Bullitt's language. 
I fear he may ruin everything. Our people at home will cer- 
tainly not stand for the recognition of the Bolshevists at the 
bidding of Wall Street.” He urged me to point out the danger 
clearly in the Daily Mail . I reassured him and told him that 
what I could say was already said and that he would find it 
in the Daily Mail next morning. 

Before I was up next day, Colonel House telephoned to say 
that he wished to see me urgently. Apparently, to use an 
Americanism, my article “ had got under the President's 
hide.” When I reached the Crillon, House and Auchincloss 
looked grave. I told them that, had I waited to discuss policy 
with them before writing my article, the chances were that 
there would have been no policy to discuss because the Presi- 
dent and, possibly, Lloyd George would have committed 
themselves to recognition of the Bolshevists that very morn- 
ing. The Colonel begged me, however, in view of the deli- 
cacy of the situation to refrain from further comment until it 
could be seen how things would go; and I consented, on the 
understanding that nothing irrevocable would be done unless 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 305 

I were informed beforehand. Then the Colonel, Auchincloss, 
and I went for a long drive during which we discussed a possi- 
ble policy in regard to the Bolshevists. Its main lines were 
that relations should be established with them in order to se- 
cure protection for a kind of Hoover revictualling mission on 
conditions that would ensure the relief of non-Bolshevist as 
well as of Bolshevist Russians; that military operations sup- 
ported or undertaken by the Allies against the Bolshevists 
should cease; that there should be no Bolshevist propaganda 
in Central Europe or in Allied countries; and that the ques- 
tion of recognition should be reserved until the Bolshevists 
had shown their wish and their power to maintain orderly 
government and to respect international engagements. 

We returned to the Crillon at midday. As I passed through 
the secretaries’ room on my way to that of Colonel House, 
Arthur Frazier held up his hand to stop me. He had the 
telephone receiver at his ear and was engaged in conversa- 
tion. When it ended he said, “ You have done it this time. 
Recognition has gone bu’st. That was Bullitt talking. He 
tells me that he breakfasted this morning with Lloyd George 
who had the Daily Mail before him, and that Lloyd George 
said it was impossible to go on with recognition while the 
Daily Mail was talking like that.” 

In his evidence before the United States Senate Commit- 
tee on Foreign Relations, on September 12, 1919, Mr. Bullitt 
gave the following account of his breakfast with Mr. Lloyd 
George: 

The next morning [March 28] I had breakfast with Mr. Lloyd 
George at his apartment. General Smuts and Sir Maurice Hankey 
and Mr. Philip Kerr were also present, and we discussed the matter 
at considerable length. I brought Mr. Lloyd George the official 
text of the [Bolshevist] proposal, the same official one in that same 
envelope which I have just shown to you. He had previously read 
it, it having been telegraphed from Helsingfors. As he had previously 
read it, he merely glanced over it and said, “ That is the same one 
I have already read,” and he handed it to General Smuts, who was 
across the table, and said, “ General, this is of the utmost importance 
and interest, and you ought to read it right away.” General Smuts 
read it immediately and said he thought it should not be allowed 
to lapse; that it was of the utmost importance. Mr. Lloyd George, 



306 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

however, said that he did not know what he could do with British 
public opinion. He had a copy of the Daily Mail in his hand, and 
he said, “ As long as the British press is doing this kind of thing, 
how can you expect me to be sensible about Russia ?” 

Mr. Lloyd George’s version of this incident was given by 
h im in the House of Commons on April 16, 1919, little more 
than a fortnight after it occurred. In reply to a question 
from Mr. Clynes whether the Prime Minister could make any 
statement “ on the approaches or the representations alleged 
to have been made to his Government by persons acting on 
behalf of such government as there is in Central Russia,” Mr. 
Lloyd George said: 

“ No, we have had no approaches at all. Of course, there are 
constantly men of all nationalities coming and going from Russia 
who are always coming back with their own tales from Russia. But 
we have had nothing authentic. We have had no approaches of 
any sort or kind. I have only heard of reports that others have 
got proposals which they assume have come from authentic quarters, 
but these have never been put before the Peace Conference by any 
member of that Conference at all. Therefore, we have not considered 
them. I think I know what Mr. Clynes refers to. There was some 
suggestion that there was some young American who had come back. 
All that I can say about that is that it is not for me to judge the 
value of these communications. But if the President of the United 
States had attached any value to them he would have brought them 
before the Conference, and he certainly did not. 

In his statement to the United States Committee on For- 
eign Relations (page 1272 of the Official Report) in Sep- 
tember, 1919, Mr. Bullitt dealt with this answer, saying: 

About a week after I had handed to Mr. Lloyd George the 
[Bolshevist] official proposal, with my own hands, in the presence 
of three other persons, he made a speech before the British Parlia- 
ment, and gave the British people to understand that he knew 
nothing whatever about any such proposal. It was the most 
egregious case of misleading the public, perhaps the boldest that 
I have even known in my life. On the occasion of that statement 
of Mr. Lloyd George, I wrote to the President. I clipped his state- 
ment from a newspaper and sent it to the President; and I asked 
the President to inform me whether the statement of Mr. Lloyd 
George was true or untrue. He was unable to answer, inasmuch 



307 


THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 

as he would have had to reply on paper that Mr. Lloyd George 
had made an untrue statement. So flagrant was this that various 
members of the British Mission called on me at the Crillon a day 
or so later and apologized for the Prime Minister’s action in the 

Ctl It was explained to me by the members of the British Delegation 
.who called on me, that the reason for this deception was that 
although, when Lloyd George got back to London, he intended to 
make a statement there favourable to peace with Russia, he found 
that Lord Northcliffe, acting through Mr. Wickham Steed, the 
editor of The Times, and Mr. Winston Churchill, British Secretary 
for War, had rigged the Conservative majority of the House of 
Commons against him, and that they were ready to slay him then 
and there if he attempted to speak what was his own opinion at 
the moment on Russian policies. 

The truth is that the action I had taken against the recog- 
nition of the Bolshevists was taken publicly, ten days before 
there was any question of correspondence between Lord 
Northcliffe and members of the House of Commons; and, on 
Mr. Bullitt’s own showing, it was my article, “ Peace with 
Honour ” in the Paris Daily Mail of March 28 th that caused 
Mr. Lloyd George not to proceed with the proposal which 
Mr. Bullitt had brought back from Russia. With that article 
Lord Northcliffe had nothing whatever to do. 


president Wilson’s depression 

Apart from the breakdown of the Bullitt proposal, Presi- 
dent Wilson was, at that moment, extremely depressed. 
Auchincloss confessed to me on the evening of March 28 th 
that “ the President is about as low-spirited as a man can be.” 
I answered that the real question was whether Wilson was a 
practical idealist or merely a dealer in ideals. If he were the 
latter, the sooner he understood that he might be hounded 
out of Europe by the angry peoples whom he would have 
deceived, the better. If he were ready, on the other hand, to 
stand for a sane and clean peace he would get all the support 
he wanted. Then Auchincloss said, “ Could you not take him 
to-morrow on to a mountain top and show him clearly the 



308 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


abyss on the one hand and the Promised Land on the other? 
It might save him and the situation.” Therefore I wrote 
in the Paris Daily Mail of Sunday, March 30 th, an article 
called “ Pisgah and Sinai.” It ran: 

On the Sabbath, good folk are wont to go a Sabbath day's journey. 
The world is undecided whether the Conference leaders are good 
folk or not. Good or bad, they might do worse than betake them- 
selves to a mountain top and view the prospect. They have the 
choice between Pisgah and Sinai. 

Respectable as are the records and the achievements of M. Clem- 
enceau, Mr. Lloyd George and Signor Orlando, it is not they whom 
the world will chiefly stone if peace tarry longer in coming or go 
lame on arrival. President Wilson will be at once the scapegoat 
and the victim. 

Are his ideals really impracticable? Not if he truly believes in 
them and is prepared to sacrifice himself for them. Not if he be 
a creator of great works rather than a trafficker in great words. 
Not if he be a sane idealist rather than a dealer in ideals. Not if 
his Sabbath Day's journey be towards Sinai rather than towards 
Pisgah. Not if he rid himself of every thought that is not one of 
utter devotion to the cause he professes to serve. 

An eminent prelate, who recently craved audience of President 
Wilson, desired to say to him one sentence: “Mr. President, be a 
thunderstorm of honesty!” We Europeans have a right to expect 
that Mr. Wilson shall be honest with himself and honest with us. 
We have given him enough whole-hearted allegiance to have a 
claim upon him. We appointed him first citizen of the world. 

We care little for American politics, Republican or Democrat, 
worthy though those politics may be. Neither do we care, at this 
moment, for our own politics or for our own politicians. We care 
for the peace and welfare of Europe with which the peace and 
welfare of the world are inseparably bound up. We ask therefore 
that, knowing this, President Wilson should care as little as we 
do for his politics and our politics, his politicians and our politicians, 
but that he should care everything for the welfare of our people 
and of his. 

President Wilson has seen the Promised Land. He has still a 
chance to enter it at the head of the Allied and Associated peoples. 
But he will not enter it from Mount Pisgah. The only way to it 
leads from Sinai. 

Next day a big American colonel walked into the Daily 
Mail office and put down, with a thump, a five-hundred-franc 
note on a table. “ I want that editorial of yours cabled right 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 309 

now to the United States,” he said; “ and if that will pay for 
it, take it. If not, tell me how much more it will cost.” From 
many quarters, including some intimate personal friends of 
the President, I heard that my article had bitten deep. The 
President declared, on the evening of March 30th, that he 
was determined “ to pull the thing through ” and that quickly. 
But, in the American Delegation, the fear prevailed that Lloyd 
George might again “pull the President off the track” — a 
fear not altogether unfounded — though a greater danger lay 
in Wilson’s own fits of obstinacy. He had one such fit about 
the Sarre Basin and the left bank of the Rhine. The French 
wished to annex the Sarre Basin outright, and Lloyd George 
had proposed that they be given the Sarre coal mines in per- 
petuity but with only enough political and administrative 
control as to enable them to work the mines. The Americans 
urged, on the other hand, that this would lead to endless com- 
plications and that the Germans would create friction and 
“ incidents ” of all sorts while the French would constantly 
demand the extension of their administrative control in order 
to affirm their authority. 

Colonel House therefore suggested that the French should 
be allowed to occupy the Sarre Basin with complete control 
of the mines for fifteen years as reparation for the damage 
done by the Germans to the coal mines in the northeast of 
France; and that, at the end of fifteen years, a plebiscite 
should be taken under the League of Nations to decide whether 
or not the inhabitants of the Sarre wished to revert to Ger- 
many. 


CLEMENCEAU AND WILSON 

I discussed this suggestion with a number of intelligent 
Frenchmen who thought that Clemenceau would probably ac- 
cept it. On March 31st, Leo Maxse of the National Review, 
an old friend of Clemenceau, brought me a message that Cle- 
menceau would like to see me. Maxse added that Clemenceau 
was full of suppressed rage against Lloyd George whom he 
accused of having repeatedly played him false. 

I asked Maxse to tell Clemenceau that I would call upon 



310 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


him next day, April 1st. In the meantime, I saw Colonel 
House, whom I again found extremely worried. The Presi- 
dent, he said, was being influenced more and more by Lloyd 
George who was showing the Manchester Guardian to him 
and persuading him that only by a pro-Bolshevist and semi- 
pro-German policy could a disaster be avoided in England* 
When I asked House whether there were anything that could 
usefully be said to Clemenceau in order to clear up the posi- 
tion he at first said, “ No but afterwards, added that, if I 
could persuade Clemenceau to come closer to the President, 
he, House, would do his utmost to get the President closer to 
Clemenceau so that contact between the two men might be 
reestablished. “ At present,” concluded House, “ your little 
Welshman has manoeuvred the President so skilfully against 
Clemenceau that the two are not on speaking terms.” 

I saw Clemenceau at 2:15 on April 1st. He said that 
things were not going at all well and that the tendencies of 
Wilson and Lloyd George were making his position almost 
untenable. In some respects, Clemenceau added, Lloyd George 
was more favourable to France than Wilson. In regard to 
the Sarre coal mines, Lloyd George had proposed that they 
should become absolutely the property of France; but, when 
it came to the administrative details, Lloyd George had slipped 
back to the side of Wilson. 

I suggested that he would do well to talk with Wilson and 
to find out exactly what was in his mind. 

“ Talk to Wilson! ” exclaimed the old Tiger. u How can I 
talk to a fellow who thinks himself the first man for two 
thousand years who has known anything about peace on 
earth? Wilson imagines that he is a second Messiah. He 
believes he has been sent to give peace to the world and that 
his preconceived notions are the only notions worth having. 

I have done everything to gratify him. I receive him at the 
foot of the staircase as though he were the King of England; 
still he is not satisfied.” 

“ It would be much better, Monsieur le President, to shut 
yourself up in a room with him for two or three hours and 
to have it out,” I said. 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 311 

“ No, no,” returned Clemenceau. " If I were locked up 
with him in a room for any number of hours we should get no 
nearer to an understanding. He will not see that there are 
certain things I cannot do without enraging the whole of 
France. But I see that I am nearly at the point of having 
to hold up my hand and to say publicly, 4 Je n’en peux plus! ’ ” 

“ What will be the good of that? ” I asked. “ Some sort of 
peace will still have to be made and you will only have given 
a public exhibition to the world that the Allied leaders are 
unable to agree. On the whole, I believe that Wilson means 
well by France and that his political interest demands a rea- 
sonable application of his general ideas. I think he would 
be ready to agree to solutions in the Sarre Basin and on the 
left Bank of the Rhine that you, too, could accept”; and I 
proceeded to outline the kind of solution which I had more 
than once discussed with Colonel House. 

Then Clemenceau exclaimed suddenly, “ Bring me, at 2:30 
to-morrow, ten lines of that sort on paper and if you can 
assure me that Wilson will agree to them, at least in princi- 
ple, I will take them and work with Wilson.” 

I hurried back to the Hotel Crillon and told House, who 
said, “ Thank goodness! You have delivered the goods. Now, 
take my stenographer, dictate your formulas to him, and then 
dictate a letter to me enclosing them. In the letter you can 
say that you have seen Clemenceau and that you think he 
would accept something like your formulas. I will either take 
or send your letter to the President to-night and, if he ac- 
cepts them, or modifies them in any way, I will tell you to- 
morrow so that you can take them to Clemenceau at 2:30.” 

I had rarely seen the Colonel more pleased. In an hour, the 
formulas and the letter to him were ready. The letter ran: 

I had a short conversation this afternoon with M. Clemenceau. I 
found him under considerable misapprehension as to what I believe 
to be the real attitude and intentions of President Wilson. I dis- 
cussed with him various suggestions for a solution of the issue con- 
cerning the Sarre Basin and the organization of the zone protective 
of the eastern frontiers of France. 

M. Clemenceau asked me to bring him to-morrow, Wednesday, 
afternoon at 2:30, a short written formula, which, as far as I could 



312 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


judge, President Wilson might be inclined to accept. I therefore 
drafted the enclosed formula as being one which I think M. Clemen- 
ceau would be disposed to accept. 

M. Clemenceau added that if such a formula could be found he, 
for his part, would be willing to cooperate most heartily with Presi- 
dent Wilson in securing its acceptance by the Peace Conference. 

The formulas were: 


THE SARRE BASIN 

The Sarre Basin shall be occupied and administered by France on 
a mandatory basis for a period of fifteen years. 

At the end of this period the allegiance of the inhabitants shall 
be decided by a plebiscite organized under the authority and control 
of the League of Nations, the plebiscite to be taken either en bloc 
or by communes and the ultimate allegiance of the whole area or 
of the respective parts to be determined by the vote. 

The mines shall be exploited by France during the mandatory 
period as partial reparation for the damage done by Germany to 
French coal mines. Should it appear that French coal mines have 
been permanently damaged or rendered entirely useless by the 
Germans, the coal mines of the Sarre Basin shall, at the end of the 
period of fifteen years, remain permanently the property of France 
irrespective of the result of the plebiscite. 

There shall be no fortifications or military establishments in the 
Sarre Basin other than a police force or gendarmerie for the main- 
tenance of public order. 

Under the French administration the citizenship of the inhabitants 
shall be unchanged except in so far as individuals may be allowed 
to acquire French citizenship; their local representative assemblies, 
their religious institutions, language, and schools shall be maintained 
and the inhabitants shall be exempt from military service. They 
shall not be entitled to representation either in the German or French 
parliaments. Any who may desire to leave the district shall have 
full opportunity to dispose of their property on equitable terms. 


PROTECTION OF EASTERN FRANCE 

Upon the signature of peace, all fortified works, fortresses, and 
field works, situate on German territory to the west of a line drawn 
fifty kilometers to the east of the Rhine shall be disarmed and dis- 
mantled. No new fortification of any kind shall be constructed 
there, nor shall there be any armed or military organization nor 
any manufacture of materials c tf war within that zone save such as 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 313 

may be requisite under the terms of Allied occupation during the 
period of reparation. 

Any Allied occupation that may be requisite during the period 
of reparation shall be undertaken by French or other Allied detach- 
ments as mandatories on behalf of the League of Nations. Officers 
of the Allied and Associated armies shall be attached to any forces of 
, occupation. 

Any violation of these provisions shall be a hostile act directed 
against the signatories of the present treaty and, in particular, any 
attempt on the part of Germany to evade or infringe them shall in- 
volve ipso facto immediate action by the League of Nations or 
mandatories that it may appoint ad hoc. 

Next morning, April 2nd, I called at the Hotel Crillon to 
hear the result. Colonel House said wearily: “ Don’t ask me. 
Frazier will tell you about it.” I went with Frazier into 
another room. 

“ He turned me out,” said Frazier. 

“ Who? ” I asked. 

“ The President,” he answered. “ I took your letter and 
formulas up to him last night. He had hardly glanced through 
them when he flew into a terrible rage. He threw them on to 
the table and shouted, 1 1 will not have it. I will not have it. 
Unless my principles are accepted integrally I will order the 
George Washington at once and go home. What do you mean 
by bringing me things which are in flagrant contradiction with 
my principles? 1 — and, literally, he turned me out of his 
room.” 

“ Then Clemenceau is quite right,” I replied. “ Your Presi- 
dent is an utterly impossible fellow. How do my formulas 
violate his principles? ” 

“ I cannot guess, and he did not say,” answered Frazier. 

“ He explained nothing, but just bundled me out.” 

“ Well,” I returned, “ I shall go to Clemenceau at 7:15 to- 
night — the King of the Belgians wants to see him at 2:30, 
so he has put off my visit till the evening — and shall tell 
him that I agree with him about Wilson and can have nothing 
more to do with the business. Also I shall now let The Times 
publish an article we have just received from Frank Simonds 
beginning ‘ The League of Nations is dead. All chances of a 



314 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


real settlement of the European problems is at an end/ This 
article has already been cabled to the United States, and I 
see no reason why The Times should not print it.” 

Frazier called in Auchincloss. They were perturbed when 
they heard of Frank Simonds’s article and begged me not to 
allow it to be published in London, where they thought, as I r 
thought, that it would make a very bad impression. I agreed 
not to publish it in London on condition that they would send 
a copy of it at once to the President to soothe his nerves. 
But I warned them that it would already have appeared in the 
United States. 

My visit to Clemenceau that evening was very brief. When 
I told him summarily what the situation was, he answered, de- 
jectedly, “ Je vous Vai bicn dit” After a pause he asked, 
“ What next? ” 

“ The next thing, Monsieur le President,” I said, “ is for 
you to catch hold of Wilson. I believe that Colonel House 
will talk squarely to him to-night; and I have taken steps to 
send him some soothing syrup. If you have a good pull at 
him, you and House may yet bring him into line.” 

Clemenceau said he would see what he could do. On re- 
turning home I wrote, for the Daily Mail of April 3rd, an 
article called “ The Front Line ” in which the Allied states- 
men were warned of the consequences of pusillanimity or in- 
subordination. It concluded: 

There have of late been signs of panic among them. There has 
been talk of flight. They have dallied with insubordination. They 
have said in effect, “ If I be not allowed to fight as best pleases me, 

I will go home!” 

It is charitable to suppose that men who talk thus are losing 
their nerve. In this case it would be more charitable to relieve 
them. If they are unfit to hold the front line, let other and fitter 
men take their places. It is better to renew the fighting line in 
time than to risk disaster to the whole cause. 

This article, and the representations which Colonel House 
made to Wilson the night before, shook things up. By the 
afternoon of April 3rd an improvement in the situation was re- 
ported. Wilson explained to House that any idea of giving the 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 


315 


French or anybody else a mandate under the League of 
Nations in Europe was contrary to his principles and that he 
had therefore rejected my formulas — which, by the way, had 
been prepared not only after discussion with Colonel House 
but also with an American expert, my old friend Professor 
Haskins of Harvard University — but that he was prepared 
to give the French the complete ownership of the Sarre mines 
as reparation. As to the left bank of the Rhine he was op- 
posed to any permanent occupation of French or Allied troops. 

These excuses struck me as rather lame, because I had not 
suggested any permanent occupation by French or other Allied 
troops but only such occupation as might be requisite during 
the period of reparation, the occupying forces acting as man- 
datories on behalf of the League of Nations. Ultimately, on 
April 5th, the question of the Sarre Basin was entrusted to 
M. Tardieu, Mr. Headlam-Morley, and Professor Haskins as 
French, British, and American experts, who worked out a 
formula not very different from that I had originally recom- 
mended, except that it gave ownership of the Sarre mines to 
France. It placed the government of the Sarre under the trus- 
teeship of the League of Nations and arranged for the taking 
of a plebiscite after fifteen years under the auspices of the 
League. The main effect of Wilson’s anger was thus to cause 
further loss of time. As I wrote to Northcliffe on the evening 
of April 3rd: 

I have explained to Frazier and Anchincloss that the President 
is getting himself into a very difficult position. He is about to 
demand that the Monroe Doctrine should be included in the League 
of Nations Covenant. In other words, he is demanding a special 
concession to American ideas or traditions in a document framed to 
guarantee the peace of the world. I see no real objection to the 
inclusion of the Monroe Doctrine, because I do not believe that 
it has any practical importance beyond making it certain that, if 
the League of Nations has to intervene anywhere in the Western 
Hemisphere, the United States shall have charge of the job. This 
would probably happen in any case. But, if the President is work- 
ing for this concession, why should he not make a countervailing 
concession to the effect that any infraction of the provisions for 
the demilitarization of the left bank of the Rhine, and of a zone 
on the right bank, shall ipso jacto involve action by France, Great 



316 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


Britain, and the United States. With a guarantee of that kind the 
French would give up many of their demands, and would also be 
prepared to fall in with the Sarre Basin solutions which they oppose 
at present because they are not certain whether their position in 
Europe will really be secure. 

Auchincloss and Frazier promised to put this idea " up to ” the 
President. “ But,” Frazier said sadly, “ of course it is very difficult 
for us to speak frankly to the President. Even the Colonel cannot 
always talk to him and nobody near him dares tell him the truth.” 

Therefore I propose to begin to tell him the truth in public as 
soon as possible. Things have reached much too grave a pass for 
anything to be gained by reticence. Chirol called to-night to say that 
it was quite useless for him to stay on, as things were past praying 
for. He is leaving to-morrow. 

Consequently, I wrote in the Daily Mail of April 4th the 
following lines: 

High Olympus labours without giving birth to the smallest mouse. 
After many days it has solved neither the question of Danzig nor 
that of the Sarre Basin, nor that of providing adequate security for 
the Eastern frontiers of France. The Olympians who dwell upon it 
seem not to understand each other; and even the ideas of President 
Wilson, by which they are hypothetically guided, are becoming less 
and less comprehensible to the vulgar herd who dwell in the plains 
below. 

Even at the risk of seeming impertinent, we venture to suggest 
that the time has come for President Wilson to explain exactly what 
his ideas and principles or, rather, their practical application to the 
various aspects of the peace situation, may be. The public in Allied 
countries has lost contact with him and with them. It hoped for 
open diplomacy, for open covenants openly arrived at, and it sees 
nought save secrecy and powerlessness to arrive at covenants secret 
or open. 

There is a painful impression, which grows daily deeper, that the 
Conference is drifting — and drifting on to the rocks. The Allied 
peoples, whose fortunes are at stake, wish to know whether the 
Conference leaders really understand whither they are drifting. It 
will be no consolation to them if they receive laborious explanations 
when it is once more “ too late.” 

On the morning of April 4th it became known that President 
Wilson had fallen ill. How serious his illness might be no one 
seemed to know. It turned out to be a severe attack of the 
influenza which had been raging in Paris that winter. Never- 



317 


THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 


theless, the Council of Four continued to meet in President 
Wilson’s study, Colonel House taking the President’s place 
and referring matters to him as they came up for decision. 
“ But,” as Mr. Ray Stannard Baker writes (vol. II, p. 45) : 

Colonel House made no progress because each day when he 
referred the new proposals — which were never anything but the 
old proposals twisted about -to the sick man in the room beyond 
the wall, he found unbroken opposition. “ No, said the President. 


Mr. Baker claims that “peace could, indeed, have been 
speedily made by giving the French what they demanded,” 
and he states in his notes (p. 47) : 


The Colonel would make peace quickly by giving the greedy 
ones all they want! He sides with those who desire a swift peace 
orTany terms; the President struggles almost alone to secure some 
constructive result out of the general ruin. 


Evidently, neither President Wilson nor Mr. Baker ever 
understood what Colonel House desired or why he desired it. 
No man in the Peace Conference was more opposed than 
Colonel House to the idea of “ giving the greedy ones all they 
wanted”; but no man knew better that mere obstinacy m 
defending abstract ideas, without considering where com- 
promise was practically expedient and harmless, could only 
end by bringing Wilson into collision with facts, and by dis- 
crediting him while spoiling the peace. 

One of the first effects of Wilson’s illness was to bring about 
a rapid change of front on the part of Mr. Lloyd George. 
On the morning of April 4th he suddenly invited three of his 
chief critics in the French press to luncheon — M. Jean Her- 
bette of the Temps, M. Andre Geraud of the Echo de Paris, 
and M. Andr6 Chlradame. To them he talked as though he, 
rather than President Wilson, were the apostle of great prin- 
ciples. He assured them that he would never sign any peace 
unless it were fully compatible with his War Aims speech of 
January 5, 1918 — a speech which, as he had explained to me 
at the time, was largely a tactical utterance. One reason for 
his efforts to influence the French press was his alarm at the 
impression created by an interview which “ a high British 



318 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

authority ” (none other than Mr. Lloyd George himself ) had 
given to the Paris correspondent of the WestwiiTistev Gazette , 
Mr. Sisley Huddleston. This interview, published on March 
31st, accentuated the impression in British Parliamentary 
circles that Lloyd George was “ going soft.’' It had, indeed, 
been given at the moment when Lloyd George was working 
for the recognition of the Bolshevists, and when he was also 
engaged in a secret controversy with M. Clemenceau, to whom 
he had written a long memorandum on March 26th, and 
from whom he had received a damaging reply on March 28th. 

This controversy turned, in reality, upon the “ possession is 
nine tenths of the law ” conception of the peace which Mr. 
Lloyd George had expounded to me and Chalmers Mitchell in 
October, 1918. M. Clemenceau countered Mr. Lloyd George's 
plea for considerate treatment of Germany in Europe by 
pointing out that this method had not been followed in deal- 
ing with German interests outside Europe. Whereas France 
would be left without definite guarantees of her security, “ a 
certain number of total and definite guarantees will have been 
acquired by maritime nations that have not known an in- 
vasion." The surrender of the German colonies would be 
total and final. The surrender of the Germany Navy would 
be total and final. The surrender of a large part of the German 
Mercantile Marine would be total and final. The exclusion 
of Germany from foreign markets would be total and would 
last for some time. “ On the other hand," added M. Clemen- 
ceau's reply, “ partial and temporary solutions would be re- 
served for Continental countries, that is to say those which 
have suffered most from the war." 

But the British Prime Minister never took Martin Luther's 
exclamation “So help me God, I can do no other," as his 
motto. On March 31st, three days after receiving Clemen- 
ceau's reply, Mr. Lloyd George and General Smuts included 
Allied pension charges in the total of reparations payments to 
be demanded from Germany; and President Wilson gave way 
to them. As Mr. Ray.Stannard Baker writes (vol. II, p. 47) : 

Lloyd George seemed to have no guiding principles whatever. 
He was powerful on one side one day and powerful on the other 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 319 

the next. He wag personally one of the most charming, amiable, 
engaging figures at Paris, full of Celtic quicksilver, a torrential 
talker in the Conference, but no one was ever quite sure, havmg 
heard him express an unalterable determination on one day, that 
he would not be unalterably determined some other way on the 
day following. 

The fact was, unfortunately, that if Mr. Lloyd George felt 
he was losing ground at home, or that a by-election had gone 
against him, he would face right about in the twinkling of an 
eye; and if public pressure were put upon him to maintain 
some consistency he yielded to it for the moment but for 
the moment only. 

On April 7th, before President Wilson had recovered, it was 
announced that the George Washington had been ordered to 
sail at once from New York to Brest in readiness to take the 
President home for good. At the same time, the Italians were 
threatening to withdraw from the Conference if their claims 
in regard to the Adriatic settlement were not admitted. 
Frazier, on behalf of Colonel House, asked me what I thought 
about these threats. I told him that if France, England, and 
the United States stood together, an Italian withdrawal 
would hurt nobody but the Italians; and that while an Ameri- 
can withdrawal would be a much more serious matter, even 
it would not render the European position hopeless. The 
French and British armies could deal with Germany very 
promptly; and, by a great financial effort in England and 
France, the financial crisis might be overcome. There could 
be no question of letting things collapse merely because the 
United States had thrown up the sponge. 

While I was talking with Frazier, Colonel House appeared. 
When I congratulated him upon his efforts to push things for- 
ward in the Council of Four, he said: “ It has been a terrible 
job, but this morning I thought we were really ‘ over the top.’ 
To-night I am less confident, but I hope that things may still 
be made to go. If I could only tell you the kind of trouble I 
have had with those three other fellows you would be aston- 
ished and disgusted.” 

I learned afterwards that he had just walked out of the 



320 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Council of Four after having been exasperated by M. Klotr, 
the French Minister of Finance, whom Clemenceau had al- 
lowed to obstruct the formal adoption of points already agreed 
upon until everybody had lost patience. Lloyd George, for 
once, had been comparatively consistent and firm — possibly 
because Bonar Law had come over from London to tell him 
that the House of Commons was seriously disquieted by his 
changes of attitude. Consequently, Lloyd George abandoned 
the idea of protesting in a great speech to the British news- 
paper correspondents at the Hotel Majestic against press 
criticisms of his behaviour. But, on April 8th, he received a 
telegram, signed by more than three hundred and seventy 
members of Parliament, asking for assurances that he would 
fulfil his election pledges. This telegram, and the resounding 
defeat of the Government candidate in a by-election at Hull 
on April 11th, upset him so completely that he resolved to go 
to London and to deliver the great speech in the House of 
Commons. 

“grasshoppers” 

Of the inner history of the telegram from the three hundred 
and seventy members of Parliament I know little. Mr. Lloyd 
George believed that it had been inspired by Northcliffe, 
who had left the south of France on the approach of spring 
and had fixed himself at Fontainebleau. As far as I could 
ascertain, a number of members of Parliament, including Lord 
Northcliffe’s former associate, the late Mr. Kennedy Jones, 
had written, or telegraphed, to ask Northcliffe for his view of 
the situation. Northcliffe’s knowledge of the situation was 
derived mainly from my memoranda. In the south of France 
and at Fontainebleau he had received a few visits from British 
and American public men, but he was still suffering too acutely 
from the growth in his throat to be able to follow political 
affairs for himself. He seems, therefore, to have advised Mr. 
Kennedy Jones by telegram that as many members of Parlia- 
ment as possible should sign a telegram to the Prime Minister 
asking for an assurance that his election pledges — in which 
he had declared that Germany would be made to pay repara- 



321 


THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 

tions up to her full capacity and that the Allies would 
“ search her pockets ” — would be maintained. As all in- 
coming and outgoing foreign telegrams were still subject to 
scrutiny by the British and French authorities, Lloyd George 
doubtless saw Northcliffe’s telegram to Kennedy Jones; and, 
as he probably imagined that Northcliffe had inspired my 
articles in the Paris Daily Mail and despatches to The Timft, 
whereas the truth was rather that my memoranda to North- 
cliffe, and especially the Westminster Gazette interview, had 
made Northcliffe anxious, Lloyd George seems to have thought 
that, if he were to trounce Northcliffe publicly, I should speed- 
ily be silenced. 

In point of fact, Northcliffe did not inspire, or seek to 
inspire, a single line that I wrote during the Peace Conference. 
Still less did he give me “ instructions.” He depended upon me 
for information, not I upon him. He constantly expressed 
agreement with what I wrote, but in no case did he suggest 
that I should write otherwise. When, however, he heard that 
Lloyd George was going to London, he suggested that I should 
go also, since nobody in London was aware of what had been 
'going on in Paris. Thus I was present in the House of Com- 
mons on April 16th when Lloyd George delivered the famous 
speech in which he denounced Northcliffe. In it he treated 
his own statement to the Paris correspondent of the West- 
minster Gazette, which Mr. Kennedy Jones described as the 
source of the information upon which the telegram of the three 
hundred and seventy members to Lloyd George had been sent, 
as “ an anonymous article,” and referred to Northcliffe as 
“ here to-day, jumping there to-morrow and there the next 
day. I would as soon rely on a grasshopper.” He suggested 
further that Northcliffe had been “ unnerved and upset ” by 
disappointment because the war had been “ won without him ” ; 
but that Northcliffe had believed himself to be, at any rate, 
the only man to make peace. Alluding to the Peace Propa- 
ganda Programme drawn up at Crewe House by the Inter- 
Departmental Committee in October, 1918, Lloyd George 
continued: 



322 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


So he [Northcliffe] publishes the peace terms and he waits for 
the call. It does not come. He retreats to sunny climes, waiting, 
but not a sound reaches that far distant shore to call him back to 
his great task of saving the world. What can you expect? He 
comes back and he says, “ Well, I cannot see the disaster, but I am 
sure it is there. It is bound to come.” Under these conditions I 
am prepared to make allowances; but let me say this, that when 
that kind of disease of vanity is carried to the point of sowing* 
dissension between great Allies, whose unity is essential to the 
peace and happiness of the world, and when an attempt is made 
to make France distrust Britain, to make France hate America, 
and America to dislike France, and Italy to quarrel with everybody, 
then I say that not even that kind of disease is a justification for 
so black a crime against humanity. 

The House of Commons roared with delight at the Prime 
Minister’s performance. It showed no critical faculty what- 
ever. In view of the gravity of the position in Paris, the 
spectacle was hardly comforting. But then, Bottomley had 
been returned to that Parliament by a majority of 10,000 while 
Mr. Asquith had been rejected by a majority of 2,000. 


PARIS AGAIN 

I returned to Paris on April 23rd to pick up the threads of 
the work which had been interrupted by my excursion to 
London. Several important questions had then been on the 
point of settlement. Among them was the Japanese demand 
for the inclusion in the Covenant of the League of Nations 
of a clause providing for “ just treatment ” of each other’s 
nationals by members of the League. In agreement with some 
members of the American Delegation [but not with Colonel 
House] Mr. W. M. Hughes, the Prime Minister of Australia, 
had opposed this demand vehemently; and though I had 
brought some prominent Australians into direct contact with 
Viscount Makino, the second Japanese delegate, in the hope of 
promoting a friendly compromise, the Japanese had been per- 
suaded, against their will, to withdraw their clause on the 
night of April 12th when the amended Covenant of the League 
of Nations was definitely adopted. Had the question come to 



323 


THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 

a vote, there would have been a majority in favour of the 
clause; but Mr. Hughes threatened to start an anti- Japanese 
agitation in Australia if the Japanese should insist. Conse- 
quently, Sir Robert Borden, General Smuts, and Mr. Massey, 
the Canadian, South African, and New Zealand Delegates, 
who did not entirely approve of their Australian colleague’s 
attitude, joined the Americans in urging the Japanese to drop 
the clause and to content themselves with a general statement 
by President Wilson as Chairman of the League of Nations 
Commission. The Japanese were very sore, and their soreness 
was not assuaged by the reflection that their tactics had not 
been altogether skilful. Had they been prepared, at the 
outset, to state the principle for which they were contending 
in the preamble to the Covenant, instead of seeking to embody 
it as a clause in the Covenant itself, there would have been 
little difficulty. But when they had aroused opposition by 
the original wording of their clause and had afterwards given 
ground by agreeing that it should be whittled down and put 
into the preamble, they found that opposition increased in- 
stead of diminishing, and they had to yield still further. 

Another question was that of Syria. Lloyd George and 
Clemenceau were still at loggerheads about it, and Colonel 
Lawrence was not helpful. The French Foreign Office, on 
the other hand, was pertinaciously obstructive. On April 10th 
I had suggested to Clemenceau that the negotiations about 
Syria should be taken out of the hands of the French Foreign 
Office and entrusted to MM. Robert de Caix and Henri Brenier, 
both of whom knew the question and spoke English. Clemen- 
ceau asked me to see the Foreign Minister, M. Pichon, at 
once and to persuade him to arrange matters as I suggested. 
Pichon agreed, and promised to let de Caix and Brenier have 
charge of negotiations. Nevertheless, matters dragged; and, 
at the end of April, de Caix asked me to see Clemenceau once 
again and to urge upon him the importance of haste. Lloyd 
George, he reported, had promised Clemenceau to tell the Emir 
Feisal that, in future, he must agree with France, who would 
pay him his subsidy ; but, apparently, Lloyd George had done 
nothing of the kind. Meanwhile, a proposal had taken shape 



324 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

for the despatch to Syria of an international Commission of 
Enquiry. 

When I saw Clemenceau on April 27th he asked me to do 
what I could to get the Syrian business put on to a satisfactory 
basis before any international Commission of Enquiry should 
start. Therefore I saw the American experts, who were quite 
prepared to recommend that the question be settled in Paris 
if Colonel House would agree to the line of policy they pro- 
posed. The Colonel advised me strongly not to begin, as I 
suggested, by arranging a meeting between the various experts 
and prospective members of the Commission of Enquiry, but 
to return first of all to Clemenceau and advise Clemenceau to 
put on to paper, in the form of a memorandum, the various 
assurances he had received from Lloyd George and to get 
Lloyd George to initial it. Then, House added, there would 
be a positive basis for discussion. America would certainly 
accede to any fair agreement that France and England might 
make. 

I saw Clemenceau again on May 4th. He welcomed House's 
advice and asked me to tell de Caix and M. Maurice Long 
(the two French Commissioners-Designate for Syria) to draw 
up without delay the memorandum for Lloyd George. Clemen- 
ceau complained bitterly that Lloyd George had continually 
failed to keep his word to him. He added: 

At first Lloyd George expressed himself entirely in favour of a 
French mandate for Syria and said that the only obstacle was 
Wilson. “ Agree with Wilson,” he added, “ and I will help you in 
every way, provided that you do not want to conquer Syria, that 
you give up your claims to Cilicia, and that you leave Mosul in the 
British sphere.” All this I have done [Clemenceau continued] ; but 
after I had agreed with Wilson and House, Lloyd George did noth- 
ing; and he has now allowed Allenby to send away to Cilicia the 
regiment of cavalry which the British had asked me to send to 
Beirut. I really cannot stand this sort of slap in the face. All 
we now want is that the British should agree with us and that 
instructions should be given to the local British officers not to stir 
up the population against us. Lloyd George has told me that he 
intends to demand a mandate for Great Britain in Palestine and 
Mesopotamia. I really cannot see why he should allow his people 
to contest our mandate for Syria. 



325 


THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 

Robert de Caix and Maurice Long got to work at once and 
prepared their memorandum. But, for some inexplicable 
reason, probably obstruction on the part of the French Foreign 
Office, it was not sent to Mr. Lloyd George. On May 10th, 
de Caix called upon me and said, “ You will have to stir up 
the Tiger once again. Our memorandum has been pigeon- 
holed somewhere and we cannot budge.” Next day Clemen- 
ceau himself sent for me; and when I asked him what had 
happened to the de Caix memorandum, he replied that he 
was much bothered with other matters and did not wish to 
raise another thorny question with Lloyd George at that 
juncture. He asked me whether I could not get the British to 
agree to a French mandate for Syria and to the substitution 
of French for British garrisons there, with the goodwill and 
assistance of the British authorities. But I told him that these 
matters could very well have been settled between him and 
Mr. Lloyd George if the de Caix memorandum had gone for- 
ward; and that until something definite were done on the 
French side it would be hard for any intermediary to make 
much progress. Nevertheless, I did what I could and, on 
May 16th, I had the satisfaction of learning that the Syrian 
question was making good progress and that the substitution 
of French garrisons for British in the French zone was being 
arranged between the British and French Chiefs of General 
Staff. My last talk with Clemenceau gave me, however, the 
impression that he was not quite master of the situation. 
For the first time since I had known him, he had failed to 
take a strong and definite line. 

THE ADRIATIC QUESTION 

But of all the thorny questions before the Conference, that 
of the Adriatic settlement between the Italians and the Yugo- 
slavs still remained the most intractable. On April 12th, the 
difficulties of the Sarre Basin and of the left bank of the 
Rhine had been practically eliminated by a compromise not 
very different in spirit from the formula I had suggested. Mr. 
Lloyd George was fully informed of the proposed compromise 



326 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


before leaving for London; and though it was not definitely 
arranged between Clemenceau and Wilson until April 16th, 
Lloyd George agreed to it immediately after his return. Any 
suggestion that it was made behind his back during his visit 
to London for the purpose of dealing with the “ Northcliffe 
telegram ” is therefore misleading. The real bargain between 
Wilson and Clemenceau seems to have turned upon the in- 
clusion of the Monroe Doctrine amendment in the Covenant 
of the League of Nations — to which Clemenceau assented — 
and the provision that the Rhine bridgeheads of Cologne, 
Coblentz, and Mainz should be occupied for five, ten, and 
fifteen years respectively, and should be evacuated in ac- 
cordance with German payments of reparations. When I 
saw Clemenceau on April 27th he inveighed against the Foch 
scheme as tantamount to a French annexation of the left bank 
of the Rhine, which, if carried out, would certainly bring on 
another war. Wilson’s attitude, on the other hand, had cer- 
tainly been affected by the unfavorable reception in America 
of his threat to abandon the Conference and to sail for the 
United States on the George Washington ; and, as Mr. Ray 
Stannard Baker has observed, fear of Bolshevism was also 
strong upon him. Mr. Baker writes (vol. II, pp. 64, 65) : 

When it came to the crisis, then, the need to hold the world 
steady, keep order and fight both extremes — militarism on the 
one hand and Bolshevism on the other — the responsibility of 
breaking up the Conference became too great. Accommodation be- 
came imperative. ... He [Wilson] had long since settled down 
to the conviction that. . . . this League [of Nations] was the 

“ key to the peace,” transcending the terms in importance and 
offering a means of correcting them after men’s passions had cooled 
down. The League was to be a permanent institution, the terms 
[of peace] only temporary. 


Wilson’s chief failing as a practical statesman was his 
inability to perceive that a firm stand made at the right mo- 
ment may obviate the necessity of subsequent compromise. 
The history of his handling of the Adriatic question is a stand- 
ing illustration of this failing. When he omitted, at the begin- 
ning of the Conference, to make plain, once and for all, his 



327 


THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 

determination not to recognize the Secret Treaties or to assent 
to any peace based upon them, he threw away, in reality, his 
greatest advantage. This I had felt throughout the Confer- 
ence; and on April 24th, when I resumed in Paris the nego- 
tiations between the Italians and the Southern Slavs, over 
which I had been asked to preside on April 12th before leaving 
for London, I found that President Wilson was about to take 
action that might jeopardize the whole situation. On April 
8th I had been asked by the American experts to write a short 
memorandum for the guidance of the President in the settle- 
ment of the Adriatic question. In it I urged that he should not 
attempt to dictate terms, but that he should simply put for- 
ward the recommendations of his own — very conscientious 
and competent — experts who were in agreement with the 
British experts upon the proper solution, and that he should 
then say that this was the only settlement he could recommend 
to the American people. 

I had been in close touch with the American and British 
experts throughout. None of them had studied the question 
more profoundly or fairly than Major Douglas Johnson of the 
American delegation. While the President was returning from 
the United States in March, I had been consulted upon a wire- 
less message in which the American delegation reported to 
him a scene with the Italians which had occurred on March 
11th in the Council of Ten. On that day, Clemenceau had 
read to the Council a letter from Pashitch asking that, when- 
ever the Italo-Yugoslav question should be discussed, the 
Yugoslav Delegation should be allowed to be present. Sonnino 
had objected, saying that, while he was willing that there 
should be a statement of the Yugoslav case, the Yugoslavs 
should be excluded as soon as the Council began to discuss it. 
Lloyd George had then read the Rules of Procedure according 
to which the representatives of all the small nations were en- 
titled to be present whenever questions affecting their interests 
were discussed. Thereupon Orlando had denounced the Croats 
and Slovenes as enemies who had no more right than the Ger- 
mans to be admitted. Lansing, the American Secretary of 
State, had answered quietly, “ The United States has recog- 



326 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


nixed the Southern Slav State. It must insist that the Southern 
Slav delegates be allowed to put forward their view. After- 
wards, if there is to be any exelusion while the question is dis- 
cussed, the United States will be obliged to insist that both 
parties to the dispute, Italians and Yugoslavs, be excluded so 
that the Council may sit as an impartial judge upon the whole, 
matter.” At this, Sonnino and Orlando snorted in unison and 
demanded an adjournment. 

This incident was reported to President Wilson by wireless, 
but no trace of it remained in the minutes of the Council 
of Ten because of an arrangement by which the secretaries of 
the five principal delegations met after each sitting and re- 
vised the minutes in a euphonious sense. Thus, the minutes 
were often a record of harmony that had not existed. On 
March 13th the Italians saluted the return of President Wilson 
by publishing a memorandum of their claims based on the 
Secret Treaty of London “ in full conformity with the prin- 
ciples of President Wilson.” Their audacity angered Wilson. 
On March 15th, they followed up this manifestation by sending 
to Colonel House, apparently upon the advice of Clemenceau, 
a memorandum demanding Fiume and the greater part of 
Dalmatia — a document which the Americans dismissed as 
absurd. Towards the beginning of April, reports from Ameri- 
can officers upon the high-handed behaviour of the Italians 
in Dalmatia increased American irritation; and by April 12th 
a hint that Wilson would insist upon Fiume being made 
a free port under the League of Nations caused a minor 
panic among the Italians. That evening, two Italians came 
to me with a semi-official request from Orlando that I would 
act as umpire between them and two Yugoslav nominees; 
but as I was leaving for London next morning I told them 
to work out a basis of agreement during my absence and 
that I would do all I could to help them on my return if there 
had been no settlement in the meantime. I declined, however, 
to accept any semi-official mandate from Orlando. 

When I returned from London on the evening of April 22nd, 
the Italians came again with maps and documents. They had 
worked out, with some Southern Slavs, a provisional economic 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 329 

agreement in the Adriatic, and said that they were now author- 
ized by Orlando to study the political question as well. A 
settlement was urgent, and unless it were made within twenty- 
four hours it might be too late. We worked until long after 
midnight and made an appointment for next day, April 23rd 
when, however, I heard from the Americans that Orlando in- 
tended to leave Paris for Rome that night and, on his arrival 
there, to proclaim the annexation of Fiume to Italy. The 
information had been given to the Americans by one of 
Orlando’s agents. 

Half an hour later, President Wilson published his famous 
Declaration upon the Adriatic question. It was a lengthy 
document declaring that the interests of smaller States must 
be as scrupulously safeguarded as the interests of the most 
powerful States and that the principles of the Armistice must 
be applied to any Adriatic settlement. Consequently, Fiume 
could not be assigned to Italy. It abounded in protestations of 
American friendship for Italy, but insisted that the people of 
Italy could not ask America to make peace save on the prin- 
ciples for which America had fought. 

I had hardly read the text of this Declaration when the 
Italian representatives sent to say that they had now re- 
ceived official credentials from Orlando and were ready to meet 
any two Southern Slavs under my chairmanship, and to refer 
any points upon which they might not be able to agree to the 
official decision of Colonel House. I answered that, in view 
of President Wilson’s Declaration, I must think things over. 
Colonel House, whom I informed, thought it would be best to 
wait a bit and see how the President’s Declaration — about 
the publication of which I had misgivings — would work. 

Had the Declaration been allowed to reach the Italian people 
immediately it might have had a sobering effect. But Orlando 
forbade its publication in Italy until he had written an indig- 
nant reply to it which was published in large type by the 
Italian press alongside of Wilson’s Declaration which was 
published in small type. In his reply, which was tantamount 
to a rejection of Wilson’s ideas and contained a demand for 
Fiume, Orlando mentioned a memorandum written by Mr. 



330 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


Balfour explaining British and French views upon the Adriatic 
settlement. This extremely able paper Orlando had been 
authorized to publish in full but had carefully refrained from 
doing so. The result of his manoeuvres was to cause an out- 
break of delirious indignation in Italy against Wilson and to 
stimulate the Nationalist demand for Fiume. The American 
Embassy at Rome had to be guarded by troops, and American 
officers in Italy were ordered to show themselves as little as 
possible. Orlando left immediately for Rome where he was 
enthusiastically received; and shortly afterwards Sonnino also 
left Paris. 


THE COUNCIL OP THREE 

The Council of Four was thus reduced to a Council of Three. 
In the meantime, fresh trouble arose between the Chinese, the 
Japanese and the Americans over the Shantung question, and 
further contestations between the Belgians and the Allies over 
the question of Belgian priority in regard to reparation pay- 
ments, and the Belgian claims to Dutch Limburg. Between 
Clemenceau and Lloyd George there was also a scene in the 
Council of Three, Clemenceau accusing Lloyd George so flatly 
of repeated inaccuracy of statement that Lloyd George rose, 
seized him by the collar and demanded an apology. After 
Wilson had separated them, Clemenceau offered Lloyd George 
reparation with pistols or swords — as soon as he should have 
acquired a domicile in Paris — and, in the meantime, refused 
to apologize. 

Despite these amenities, the work proceeded somehow, and, 
on May 3rd, Wilson, Clemenceau, and Lloyd George decided in 
principle that if the Italians continued to absent themselves 
from the Peace Conference, the other Allies and the United 
States would present the terms of peace to the Germans with- 
out them. They held that such a course would not involve 
a breach of the London Declaration of September 5, 1914 
(to which Italy subsequently adhered) , binding the Allies not 
to conclude a separate peace, inasmuch as the Italians had 
themselves violated the spirit of the Declaration by absent- 
ing themselves from the Peace Conference. On May 4th, 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 


331 


however, Sonnino telegraphed to Clemenceau from Rome 
accusing France and Great Britain of having violated the 
London Declaration. A stinging reply was drafted by M. 
Tardieu; but, before it could be sent, the Italians announced 
that they intended to return to the Conference. They had 
apparently received information that some French public* men, 
including M. PoincarS, the President of the Republic, would 
support their demands; and, doubtless, Sonnino remembered a 
phrase of Goethe’s which he had always been fond of quot- 
ing, “ Die Gegenwart ist eine mdchtige Gottin ” — a German 
variation of the French proverb, “ Les absents ont toujours 
tort ” They may also have heard that the Supreme Economic 
Council had decided to withhold, until further notice, all sup- 
plies to Italy, and that President Wilson had likewise 
refused to sanction a fifty-million-dollar loan for which the 
Italians had been pressing. 

In the meantime, the Southern Slavs made a move. On 
May 4th Trumbitch came to tell me that he would bring, 
next day, a Southern Slav scheme for an Adriatic settlement 
which he hoped I would communicate “on my own initiative” 
to the Americans. I told him that the American experts were 
preparing a final draft settlement of their own which I thought 
excellent. When the Italian delegates returned to Paris they 
also came with proposals that, if Italy were given possession 
of the municipal territory of Fiume, she would lease it to the 
Yugoslavs for ninety-nine years. I submitted this suggestion 
to the American experts who would go no further than to 
agree to put Fiume under the League of Nations for a term 
of years and to take a plebiscite at the end of the term. 
Trumbitch accepted this proposal and offered, besides, com- 
plete disarmament of the Dalmatian coast and the islands, 
whereas Italy might fortify, if she wished, any of the outer 
Dalmatian islands that might be assigned to her. 

On these lines, however, no progress could be made, and on 
May 10th the Italian experts once more appealed to me to 
preside over Italo- Yugoslav negotiations, though the Italian 
press was denouncing me as a ferocious enemy of Italy, an 
“ international filibuster ” and “ a notorious agent of Jacob 



332 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


Schiff.” For some days the negotiations continued. The 
Italians sought to add gravity to them by conveying “ con- 
fidential ” information to Colonel House that, unless the solu- 
tion of the Adriatic question were such as Sonnino could ac- 
cept, Sonnino would commit suicide. I was solemnly consulted 
about this “ possibility ” and said that I thought it highly 
improbable and that, even in the case of Sonnino, there would 
be a margin between a threat and its execution. 

At this moment, President Wilson was absolutely firm in 
his insistence upon the American expert proposals for the 
Adriatic settlement. He refused to see either the Italians or 
the Yugoslavs; and he certainly agreed with, if he did not 
actually initiate, a kind of counter-offensive on the part of 
the “ Big Three ” against the perpetual Italian attempts to 
blackmail him. While the Italian delegation was still “ on 
strike,” Lloyd George, Clemenceau, and Wilson had agreed 
that the signatures of any three of the Great Powers would 
suffice to render the Peace Treaty valid. They did not invite 
the Italians to join in the Anglo-American guarantee to France 
against any future German aggression, and thus excluded Italy 
from what the Italian press had begun to call “ the new Triple 
Alliance.” Then the Supreme Economic Council had sus- 
pended the revictualling arrangements, and Wilson had held 
up the American loan to Italy. Finally, the Supreme Eco- 
nomic Council decided to put all the enemy Adriatic shipping 
into the Allied shipping pool and to reduce the Italian share 
of it to the percentage which Italy would be entitled to claim 
for the losses of her mercantile marine. All this was done 
very quietly until Italy began to realize that blackmailing 
tactics may be very pleasant when they are employed by one 
side only. I thought them injudicious; and wrote, on May 
14 th, in my memorandum to Northcliffe: 

Frankly, I do not think that these tactics are altogether wise. If 
they had been accompanied or preceded by a positive policy in 
regard to Italy, and not merely a negative policy based at once on 
unwillingness to go beyond the Treaty of London, and on unwilling- 
ness to tell the Italians flatly that its execution would be diametrically 
opposed to the best interests of Italy, there might have been some- 
thing to say for cumulative tactical pressure. In dealing with Italy, 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 


333 


one has not only to think of what she ought not to have but to 
think also of what she ought to have. That the Allies and the 
United States have never yet done. Consequently, the Italian Gov- 
ernment may be able to denounce to their people the tactics of 
England, France, and the United States as definitely anti-Italian — 
unless at the eleventh hour some positive settlement is found. 

While I was writing this memorandum, Colonel House 
telephoned to ask me to send Trumbitch to him. Orlando, he 
said, had just called upon him with some new suggestion. 
Trumbitch went to House and, as a result of his visit, asked 
me to persuade the Italian Economic experts to revive the 
provisional Italo-Yugoslav agreement about the allotment of 
enemy shipping in the Adriatic so that Italians and Yugo- 
slavs might support it in a joint appeal to the Supreme Eco- 
nomic Council. House, for his part, had promised Trumbitch 
to support the appeal if it were made jointly. Consequently, 
I got the Italians and Yugoslavs together again and shepherded 
them into the Hotel Crillon where they were handed over 
to the American experts. At the same time Colonel House 
told me that Orlando would be ready to make an agreement 
with the Southern Slavs along the whole line within twenty- 
four hours and to accept him as intermediary provided that 
Trumbitch would also accept. House therefore wished me to 
secure from Trumbitch a written declaration that the South- 
ern Slav delegation would be ready to negotiate a settlement 
with the Italians and to accept House as intermediary. 

When I made this suggestion to Trumbitch I found him and 
the other Yugoslavs in a recalcitrant mood. The Austrian 
delegation had been summoned to Saint-Germain for the ne- 
gotiation of peace, and a marked disposition to be very 
tender towards Austria had become noticeable among the “ Big 
Three.” The Southern Slavs began to fear that, while the 
Italians were driving a hard bargain with them in the Adriatic, 
the other Allies would support the Austrians in driving a hard 
bargain with them in the delimitation of the Slovene frontier 
in Carinthia. Consequently, Trumbitch declined to make 
offhand the declaration which House wanted and insisted that, 
even should he be forced on the morrow to negotiate with the 



334 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Italians, he must be assured of fair terms from the Allies 
in Carinthia. Colonel House thought that there was some 
justification for this demand and asked me to hammer out 
that night a compromise line between the Austrian and the 
Southern Slav claims in Carinthia. Next day, House took 
mattere into his own hands and summoned Orlando and 
Trumbitch to the Hotel Crillon where, for four hours, a con- 
ference went on in watertight compartments. Trumbitch, tied 
down by definite instructions from his delegation, sat in one 
room; Orlando and an Italian diplomatist sat in another, 
while Colonel House, Frazier, and Major Douglas Johnson 
acted as intermediaries between them. The result was a total 
deadlock, although Orlando pressed for a final solution before 
midnight with an insistence which the Americans could not 
understand. I discovered, however, that Orlando was fearful 
lest his rival, Signor Nitti, should turn Italian public opinion 
against him, and wished to save himself by announcing an 
Adriatic settlement. Orlando had actually sent his own Un- 
der-Secretary of State to Italy with instructions to await at 
Turin a telegram saying whether “ the negotiations with 
Steed ” had gone well or ill. In the former case, the Under- 
secretary had orders to arrange for the immediate release of 
the Southern Slav prisoners of war in Italy and for the re- 
patriation of the Southern Slav civilians whom the Italians 
had deported by hundreds from Dalmatia and Istria. In the 
latter case the Southern Slav prisoners were to remain in 
durance. 

Unluckily, no agreement could be reached and the Adriatic 
dispute was destined to run its weary and dangerous course 
for another four and a half years. This is not the place to 
record its vicissitudes. Though the fault lay principally with 
the Italians, the Southern Slavs, and especially Pashitch, 
were also blameworthy. Even on May 19, 1919, when Cle- 
menceau wished to promote a final agreement on the more 
difficult territorial points, Pashitch interjected in his bad 
French, “ Moosoo le Preysidong, que jerez vous de la Boul- 
garief whereupon Clemenceau threw up his arms, told them 
they were impossible fellows, and proposed to turn them 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 


335 


out. Early on the same day, Senator Marconi came to tell 
me that Orlando wished to see me at once, since he had a 
suggestion to make that would be acceptable to all parties. I 
answered by quoting an Italian proverb to the effect that a 
man who is “ three times good ” is a fool. I had been “ good ” 
to Orlando twice, and twice he had betrayed me; and I was 
not such a fool as to give him a third chance. But, as Mar- 
coni insisted, I said I would only meet Orlando on neutral 
ground in the presence of a witness, and that Marconi might, 
if he wished, choose the ground and be the witness. To my 
astonishment, he telephoned an hour later to say that Orlando 
accepted these conditions and would meet me that evening in 
Marconi’s rooms. But, that afternoon, Orlando went to bed 
with an attack of fever; and, as I was leaving Paris next day, 
I met him no more. 

THE GERMAN DELEGATION 

While these things were going on in the background, the 
foreground of the Conference had been filled by the arrival 
of the German Peace delegates at Versailles to receive com- 
munication of the Peace terms. Net without malice, the 
French quartered them in the Hotel des Reservoirs, where 
BismaYck had made his headquarters during the peace nego- 
tiations with the French in 1871. The German delegation, 
with Count Brockdorff-Rantzau at its head and its large 
retinue of experts, translators, and secretaries of both sexes, 
was carefully guarded by the police in order to save its mem- 
bers from insult or attack. Some of them complained bitterly 
of the restrictions upon their freedom which these measures 
involved. They seem to have thought that they would have 
been able to move about in Versailles and in Paris at their 
own sweet will, for they had no notion of the bitterness of 
French feeling towards them. When, at length, the Treaty was 
presented to them, they translated it into German with re- 
markable method and speed and despatched it to Berlin. This 
done they, with the exception of Brockdorff-Rantzau, indulged 
in so gross an orgy that, when the French police visited the 



336 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Hotel next day, they found it in a condition of indescribable 
filth and the delegates, secretaries, and translators lying drunk, 
in all stages of dress and undress, in the rooms and even on 
the stairs of the Hotel. Psychologically, their conduct may 
be explicable; politically, it was a blunder. A detailed report 
was made by the police to Clemenceau who sent it to Presi- , 
dent Wilson. It did not tend to soften the tone of the reply 
that the President himself wrote to the memorandum in which 
Brockdorff-Rantzau had taken exception to the Treaty. Presi- 
dent Wilson, in fact, stood by the Treaty almost as firmly 
as Clemenceau and showed no signs of the panic which Mr. 
Lloyd George developed, under pressure of British criticism 
of the Treaty, in the latter part of May and the beginning of 
June. Fear that the Germans would not sign it, and that 
their rejection of it might expose him and his part in it to 
criticism, put him, as President Wilson repeatedly said, and 
as Mr. Ray Stannard Baker has truthfully reported, into “ a 
perfect funk.” Ultimately he returned to London and recom- 
mended the Treaty to Parliament in an eloquent speech as 
“ stem but just.” 

Of the principal statesmen engaged in the making of the 
Treaty, the British Prime Minister was the least fitted, by 
temperament and knowledge, to help in building up an en- 
during work. He had been, in many respects, a great war 
leader; but, as a maker of peace, his very agility and his 
skill as a tactician were sore disadvantages. I doubt whether 
any one of the leading Peace delegates was actually satisfied 
with the Peace Treaty. Even Clemenceau understood its de- 
fects but trusted that time would help to remedy them. Presi- 
dent Wilson, and to a still greater degree, Colonel House, felt 
that the best features of the Treaty were those which would 
permit of its gradual modification, through the instrumentality 
of the Reparation Commission and the League of Nations, 
when the passions and appetites that prevailed in Paris should 
have cooled down. My own feeling, which had been expressed, 
as early as April 30th, in a leading article of the Paris Daily 
Mail, was that only in and through the League of Nations 
could the Peace be made real, and that to this end public 



THE PEACE CONFERENCE. II 


337 


opinion in Allied countries should be informed and mobilised 
without delay by believers in the League. I pointed out that 
the task of leaguing the nations might take years and that it 
would have to be done less by governments than by the na- 
tions themselves, whom associations of earnest men and women 
would have to instruct. The article concluded: 

Of the four leaders of the Conference, President Wilson alone 
really believed in the idea of a League, but his own conception of 
it was originally hazy. M. Clemenceau thought it a pious aspiration 
that might do no harm, if it could do no good, and that might, at 
any rate, serve as a foil for measures of greater immediate value 
to France. Mr. Lloyd George held it of so little account that he 
discountenanced all serious attempts to organize British public 
suoDort of it. Signor Orlando spoke of it in a voice tremulous with 
emotion and acted — as he has acted. Others, like M. Venizelos, 
Colonel House, and Lord Robert Cecil, believed in it, saw what it 
might be, and worked for it. They may one day have their reward. 

Among the opponents of the League the view has been spread 
that it is, in substance, an Anglo-Saxon contrivance to keep the con- 
trol of the world in American and British hands. There is enough 
plausibility in this view to render it insidiously false. At a pinch, 
the United States could probably dispense with the League of 
Nations more readily than any Great Power. The British Common- 
wealth which is, in substance, a League of Nations by itself, could 
probably toddle along for a generation or two without the assurance 
of foreign support in any just quarrel — and its very constitution 
is a guarantee against its being engaged in an unjust quarrel. France, 
who is peculiarly exposed to attack may, on reflection, find stronger 
practical reason to support and to help in perfecting a League of 
Nations than many of her present Allies and Associates. 

But comparisons of interest, always odious in matters that depend 
for success upon sincerity of ideal aspiration, are peculiarly ob- 
noxious in regard to the League of Nations. The truth is that the 
United States, the British Commonwealth, and France have it in 
their power to make or to mar the embryonic Covenant that has been 
adopted. Without them, it would indeed be a scrap of paper. With 
them, if their peoples work for it and support it wholeheartedly 
and unselfishly, thinkin g more of their duties towards the small 
nations than of their own power and privileges — it may be made 
a real, vital thing. 

Presently, when peace has been signed and statesmen have no 
need to wrangle, in the morning, over the special claims of their 
respective countries, as a preparation for considering, in the evening, 
the common interests and needs of humanity — another Conference 



338 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

may assemble, composed of men and women whose instructions will 
have been drawn up under the influence of enlightened public 
opinion, for the purpose of perfecting the imperfect work of the 
Conference of Peace. For that Assembly the preparatory work of 
educative propaganda should begin before the ink is dry upon the 
Peace Treaty. 

Hoping that, to this end, The Times might help to promote 
and maintain cooperation between the British Commonwealth, 
the United States and France, I returned, after a short holi- 
day, to London early in June to begin my active editorship 
of the leading British journal. 



CHAPTER XIX 


THE POWER OF “ THE TIMES ” 

1919-1922 

H AD I not believed that something could be done through 
The Times , with the support of the other newspapers 
which Lord Northcliffe controlled, to improve the situation 
created by the Peace Treaty, I should have begun my new work 
in London with a heavy heart. Northcliffe himself was very 
ill. He had postponed an urgent operation on his throat until I 
should be able to return, and I had left Paris before the sign- 
ing of the Peace in order to see him before it took place. He 
faced it pluckily. He knew that it might be fatal or that, 
should he recover from it, it might seriously impair his pow- 
ers. But he took the risk almost gaily and said repeatedly 
that anything would be better than the suffering he had under- 
gone during the past year. 

I told him of the main lines of the policy which I thought 
we should follow. They were (1) To maintain the inde- 
pendence of The Times towards all parties, politicians, and 
governments, supporting them when we thought them right, 
opposing them when we thought them wrong, and remaining 
neutral when we were in doubt; (2) to work immediately for 
a settlement of the Irish question both for its own sake and 
because there could be no real stability in Anglo-American 
relations until it were settled; (3) to support France and 
the other Allies in all their just claims, so that we might ad- 
monish them without offence whenever it should be necessary 
to do so in the interests of Great Britain and of Europe; 
(4) to advocate and support the League of Nations as the 
chief hope of avoiding future war — albeit constructively and 
critically rather than blindly; and (5) to deal fairly with all 
Labour demands and movements in Great Britain while re- 
sisting firmly any Bolshevist tendencies. 

339 



340 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


I told him also that I did cot conceive the functions of 
an editor as those of a journalistic autocrat but that I should 
strive to make of the staff of The Times a team all of whose 
members would be aware of the policy of the paper so that 
they might work in harmony with it according to their knowl- 
edge and several capacities. 

With this programme Northcliffe agreed. Those who im- 
agine him to have been a merely sensational journalist never 
saw beneath the surface of his mind; just as those who im- 
agined him to be guided solely or chiefly by personal ambi- 
tion or rancour overlooked what was greatest in him — his 
intense patriotism and solicitude for the future welfare of 
Great Britain and of the Empire. Erratic he often was, and 
hard to understand; and, as he lost strength, his defects tended 
to become more evident than his qualities. But he was, in his 
way, a genius, a large-hearted man, intensely intuitive and 
full of a faith which, despite the peculiarity of its modes of 
expression, was real and deep. 

It would not be seemly nor would it be of public interest 
to describe in any detail the work of an editor of The Times. 
He receives so much information and so many confidences in 
virtue of his position that they belong to The Times, not to 
him personally. He is so greatly indebted to the devotion 
of his colleagues, from his immediate assistants to the printers 
and mechanical staff, that he cannot claim special credit for 
whatever good work may be done. It has been said that the 
editor of The Times is like the captain of a battleship — and, 
it may be added, of a battleship in constant action amid mine 
fields. But of some things which The Times sought to do, and 
actually did, between June, 1919, and the end of November, 
1922, 1 am entitled to speak because they were, and are, mat- 
ters of legitimate public interest. 

THE HUSH QUESTION 

Of these the first is the Irish question. From boyhood I 
had been interested in it. My earliest political memories were 
associated with the General Elections of 1885 and 1886 in 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


341 


Suffolk, just before and after the secession of the Liberal 
Unionists from the Liberal Party when Mr. Gladstone began 
to advocate Home Rule. During my work abroad I had fre- 
quently observed the hampering effect of the Irish question 
upon British policy and, in particular, upon Anglo-American 
•relations. In the spring of 1914 I had noted with suspicion 
the keenness of the interest taken by German diplomatists in 
the dispute over Mr. Asquith’s Home Rule Act and in the 
episodes that led to the formation of the Ulster volunteers 
on the one hand, the Irish volunteers on the other, and to the 
Curragh incident; and I had thought the visit of the German 
Emperor’s private informant, Professor Schiemann, to London 
and Ireland in April, 1914, especially significant. When war 
broke out, the reason for German eagerness to foment strife in 
Ireland had become clear to all. Like many others, I had 
then been disappointed by Sir Edward Carson’s failure to 
join Mr. John Redmond in making a joint appeal to the Irish 
people. The Easter rebellion of 1916 and the failure of the 
subsequent Irish Convention, when it seemed to be within 
sight of success, had shown the impossibility of solving the 
Irish question by palliatives, while the growth of the Sinn 
Fein movement and the sympathies it aroused in the United 
States were phenomena that could not safely be ignored. But 
it was not until I came into close and almost daily contact 
with members of the American Peace delegation in Paris, 
and met also a number of American public men unattached 
to it, that I understood the urgency of an Irish settlement if 
Anglo-American cooperation were to be possible in future. 
In the United States, Cardinal Gibbons had forsaken his 
prudent attitude and had associated himself publicly with a 
demand for Irish independence; and during the Peace Con- 
ference two Irish-American agitators, Messrs. Walsh and 
Dunne, had obtained, through Colonel House, permission to 
visit Ireland and had made a thoroughly incendiary report. 
Thus matters were working up towards a crisis which threat- 
ened to be the more serious because British public opinion 
would certainly, and rightly, resent any attempt to settle 
Anglo-Irish relations under foreign pressure; and it was clear 



342 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


that, if those relations remained unsettled, foreign pressure, 
in one form or another, would inevitably be applied. 

Therefore, while I was in London in April, 1919, I had im- 
pressed upon my colleagues the necessity of ascertaining and 
publishing, as quickly yet as carefully as possible, the facts 
of the position in Ireland. We had chosen a special corre- 
spondent for this purpose and had sent him to Ireland but, 
in a few weeks, he had become so enthusiastic and imbalanced 
a partisan of Sinn Fein that his contributions were useless 
as statements of fact. We, however, wanted the facts as a 
basis for a definite policy. As far as my experience goes, 
policies in accordance with preconceptions, or antecedent de- 
sires, invariably break down. A good policy should fit the 
facts — economic, social, political, religious and psychologi- 
cal — as a glove fits the hand. In our case there was, it is 
true, an antecedent desire to promote a settlement, but it was 
chastened by the conviction that to kick against the facts 
would be a sorry and disastrous business. 

Thus the matte" stood over until my return to London 
early in June when, by good fortune, we secured the help of 
Captain R. J. Shaw, a young Irish officer who had been, be- 
fore the war, closely connected with the Southern Irish Union- 
ists and after wounds disabling him for service at the front, 
had been selected as one of the secretaries to the Irish 
Convention. In that capacity he had gained intimate knowl- 
edge of all sections of Irish thought and had worked out a 
draft scheme for a settlement which he had submitted to the 
Secretary for Ireland, Mr. Ian Macpherson. The authorities 
at Dublin Castle were, however, afraid of it; and, after sub- 
mitting it without result to a member of the Cabinet in 
London, Captain Shaw brought it to me. I went through it 
carefully, suggested some modifications, and agreed with the 
author that its main ideas might form the basis of a series 
of articles stating the facts of the situation. Ultimately we 
decided that the articles should be written or, at least, ap- 
proved of, by a triumvirate of experienced Irishmen, all of 
them Unionists but all convinced of the need for a settle- 
ment and of the general soundness of the scheme proposed. 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


343 


Therefore, on June 28, 1919, The Times published the first of 
ten articles on “ Irish Peace ” which continued until July 
9th. It supported them in its leading columns and urged 
strongly upon the Government the necessity of taking in hand 
an Irish settlement without delay. 

THE DOMINION OF IRELAND 

In the meantime, a resolution of the United States Senate on 
Ireland caused The Times to define, in a leading article pub- 
lished on June 16th, the broad conditions of the Irish problem. 
This article had been carefully written and revised on Sun- 
day, June 15th, when news came that Captain Alcock and 
Lieutenant Whitten-Brown had won the £10,000 prize offered 
by Lord Northcliffe in the Daily Mail for the first direct 
transatlantic aeroplane flight. They had left Newfoundland 
at 4:28 p.m. on June 14th and had landed at Clifton in Ireland 
at 8:40 a.m. on the 15th. Northcliffe sent for me on the after- 
noon of the 15th to ask whether I approved of a letter of 
congratulation he had written to Captain Alcock; and, as I 
was at that moment correcting the proofs of the leading arti- 
cle on Ireland, I took them to him. His letter, which showed 
his usual vision, ran: 

My dear Alcock 

A very hearty welcome to the pioneer of direct Atlantic flight. 
Your journey with your brave companion, Whitten-Brown, is a 
typical exhibition of British courage and organizing efficiency. 

Just as in 1913, when I offered the prize, I felt that it would soon 
be won, so do I surely believe that your wonderful journey is a 
warning to cable monopolists and others to realize that, within the 
next few years, we shall be less dependent upon them unless they 
increase their wires and speed up. Your voyage was made more 
quickly than the average press messages of 1919. Moreover, I look 
forward with certainty to the time when London morning news- 
papers will be selling in New York in the evening, allowing for 
the difference between British and American time, and vice versa 
in regard to New York evening journals reaching London next day. 
Then we shall no longer suffer from the danger of garbled quotations 
due to telegraphic compression. Then, too, the American and 
British peoples will understand each other better as they are 
brought into closer daily touch. 



344 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Illness prevents me from shaking you by the hand and personally 
presenting the prize. But I can assure you that your welcome will 
be equal to that of Hawker and his gallant American compeer, Read, 
whose great accomplishment has given us such valuable data for 
future Atlantic work. 

I rejoice at the good augury that you departed from and arrived 
at those two portions of the British Commonwealth, the happy and 
prosperous Dominion of Newfoundland, and the future equally happy 
and prosperous Dominion of Ireland . 

Yours sincerely, 

North cliffe. 

When I came to the concluding phrase “ the happy and 
prosperous Dominion of Newfoundland, and the future equally 
happy and prosperous Dominion of Ireland,” I said to him, 
“ We are not going as far as that. It may come to that pres- 
ently ; but for The Times to foreshadow it now would be im- 
politic.” 

“ Shall I strike it out of the letter? ” he asked. “ I am 
certain that Ireland will be a Dominion before many years 
are over, but if you think it will do any harm for me to say 
it, I will strike it out.” 

“ No,” I answered, “ leave it in. It is your personal opinion 
and you are entitled to state it in a signed letter. But our 
policy will be more moderate.” 

Thus the letter to Captain Alcock was sent; and Northcliffe, 
after reading the proofs of the leading article, agreed with 
them also saying, “ I am so glad you have referred to the 
Americans as 1 foreigners/ The great majority of Americans 
look upon us as foreigners and, what is more, as the most 
bothersome sort of foreigners with whom they have to deal. 
Until our people learn to drop the ‘ cousinship ’ talk and to 
look upon the Americans as what they are, a big, foreign, 
English-speaking nation, we shall never get a real understand- 
ing with them. If there is to be insistence upon cousinship, 
or kinship, it should come from them, not from us. When 
we talk of it, they think we are trying to patronize them. I am 
speaking, of course, of the American people as a whole, not 
of the New Englanders or Virginians or the people on the 
Atlantic seaboard whom most Englishmen take for typical 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 345 

Americans. We have got to get it into people's heads that 
the Americans are quite grown up; and the best way to do 
it is to drop the notion that they are some sort of relations. 
Of course, lots of them are proud of their English origin and 
many of the best of them love England; but sentiment of 
that kind cuts very little ice in actual, everyday politics.” 

The leading article in The Times said, with reference to the 
resolution of the United States Senate: 

There have been determined attempts during the last few months 
to make the question of Ireland an international issue, and to place 
Great Britain in the position of a mere party to a dispute in which 
foreign States would act as advisers and intermediaries, if not as 
judges. It is as well to say at once that attempts of this kind are 
bound to fail. They will be wrecked upon the firm purpose of the 
British people to exercise for themselves the right of self-determina- 
tion. As well might the British Parliament suggest that the United 
States for instance, should welcome British recommendations in 
regard to the relations between the Federal Authorities and a State 
of the Union, as that any foreign Legislature should expect Great 
Britain to take account of its resolutions in regard to the position 
of Ireland. . . . 

In saying this we are by no means blind to the fact that many 
millions of American citizens of Irish race are, naturally and in- 
evitably, interested in the settlement of the Irish problem. We are 
aware of the close connection between some of their political organ- 
izations and sundry militant organizations in Ireland. We are 
acquainted with the efforts of German intriguers in the United States 
to use the American Irish as their catspaws. We know, too, how 
large the Irish vote bulks in American home and foreign policy, and 
we are also persuaded that, without a frank and demonstrably 
honest attempt to secure a fair and even a generous solution of the 
Irish question — such a solution as the great majority of sane Irish- 
men could in future regard as not only tolerable but satisfactory — 
the real and the supposed grievances of Ireland may envenom Anglo- 
American relations for years to come. It is not, therefore, from any 
failure to realize the dimensions of the Irish question that we in- 
sist upon its essentially British character in the first place. Those 
who wish Ireland well — and we count ourselves among their num- 
ber — could make no worse mistake than to treat the Irish question 
as a purely international problem, comparable with any of the 
new problems which the Peace Conference has essayed to solve. And 
it is precisely because of the British character of the problem that 
it is incumbent upon the British Government to address themselves, 



346 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


without delay and without thought of petty Parliamentary or elec- 
toral advantage, to its solution. . . . 

Only thus, we are persuaded, will it be possible to bring tran- 
quillity and well-being to Ireland, and only thus can the world be 
brought to understand that, while the Irish question is chiefly a 
British concern, the British people intend that, within the limits 
of their own security, Ireland shall be mistress of her fate. 

Before the series of special articles upon “Irish Peace” 
was concluded, I received a visit from an important member 
of the Cabinet whose experience of Ireland had been gained 
as Irish Secretary in a former Administration. 

“ Those articles of yours are very interesting,” he said. 
“ What are you driving at? ” 

“A settlement,” I answered. 

“ Have you got a plan? ” 

“ Yes.” 

“ Are you going to publish it? ” 

“ No.” 

“ Why? ” 

“ Because we think it is a good plan and we do not wish to 
spoil it. We know enough of the Cabinet and of the Prime 
Minister to be sure that, if a scheme for an Irish settlement 
were inspired by God Almighty and were published first in 
The Times, it would be rejected by the Government because 
it had been published in The Times.” 

“ You are a little hard on us,” answered the Cabinet Min- 
ister, “ but I see what you mean. May I see your scheme? ” 

I promised to send him a copy of it, and to cause another 
copy to be placed before Mr. Lloyd George. Before the Cabi- 
net Minister left, I added: 

“ You may tell your colleagues in the Cabinet and the 
Prime Minister that, if the Government will take this scheme 
as it is, or improve upon it, they will be able to count upon 
the support of The Times, and, as far as I am able to answer 
for Lord Northcliffe, upon that of the Daily Mail and the 
other newspapers which Lord Northcliffe controls, and that 
we shall never claim credit for having helped to promote a 
settlement, if a settlement is reached on such a basis.” 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


347 


“ You are very generous,” observed the Cabinet Minister. 

“ No, we are tactical,” I replied. “ In the interests of the 
country we want a settlement, and we are willing to leave 
the prestige to others.” 

We soon learned that neither the Prime Minister, nor the 
Cabinet as a whole, was disposed to recognize the urgency of 
an Irish settlement; and on July 12, 1919, Sir Edward Car- 
son spoke at Belfast in a tone of complete hostility to any 
reconsideration of f the position. On July 21st, Mr. Lloyd 
George also referred in the House of Commons to the Irish 
question in terms that showed it would be hopeless to expect 
the Government to evolve an Irish policy of their own. At 
the same time I received a large number of letters from 
readers in many parts of England and Ireland complaining 
that, though The Times was pressing the Government to pro- 
duce a scheme of settlement for Ireland, it seemed incapable 
of putting forward any scheme of its own, and that its in- 
sistence was merely a sign of its rancorous hostility towards 
Mr. Lloyd George. The ministerial press took up the strain 
and taunted us with inability to suggest anything practical. 
Therefore, I informed the Cabinet Minister who had visited 
me that I must withdraw my undertaking not to publish our 
scheme; but we decided to publish it in a form that would 
not preclude the eventual adoption of its main features by 
the Government as an independent official scheme. So anxious 
were we not to hallmark it as “ The Times Scheme,” and thus 
to imperil its chances of success, that it was put into the 
form of a leading article which filled four columns — prob- 
ably the longest leading article on one subject that had ever 
appeared in The Times . 


THE SCHEME 

The article insisted that we claimed no credit for our sug- 
gestions or patent rights in them. We claimed only the right 
to have them examined in good faith and dispassionately by 
all whom they concerned. The position was that the Home 
Rule Act of 1914 was on the Statute Book but that it could 



348 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


not be enforced in its present form. Opinion in Ireland had 
almost unanimously turned against it. Ulster could only be 
brought within its provisions by direct coercion — and it was 
a postulate of any Irish settlement that Ulster should not 
be coerced into subjection to an Irish Parliament. Sinn Fein 
was equally opposed to the Act. The efforts of the Irish 
Convention in 1917 and 1918 had made the deadlock worse, 
chiefly because the British Government had not earnestly 
worked for a solution in the spring of 1918. Proposals to 
divide Ireland into two entirely separate parts, excluding 
Ulster from an Irish settlement, were counsels of despair. 
The ultimate aim must be Irish unity by consent. Therefore 
we proposed that an Act of Settlement should create two State 
Legislatures, one for the whole of Ulster, the other for the 
rest of Ireland, with full powers of legislation on home affairs, 
an executive responsible to the State Legislature being set up 
in each State. At the same time the Act of Settlement should 
create an All-Ireland Parliament on the basis of equal repre- 
sentation of the two States, Ulster having as many repre- 
sentatives as the rest of Ireland. This All-Ireland Parlia- 
ment should consist of a single Chamber formed by delega- 
tions from the State Legislatures. With the exception of 
matters involving the Crown and the Succession, the making 
of war and peace, and the control of the armed forces (which 
would be retained by the British Imperial Parliament), the 
All-Ireland Parliament would possess fiscal autonomy and 
control direct taxation, customs, and excise. Each State Leg- 
islature would have a veto upon the application, within its 
own State, of any legislation passed by the All-Ireland Parlia- 
ment. Irish representatives, elected on the basis of popula- 
tion, would continue to sit at Westminster, and constitutional 
disputes between the Imperial and Irish Parliaments would 
be decided by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, 
and disputes between the All-Ireland Parliament and the State 
Legislatures by an Irish Supreme Court. Ireland would con- 
tribute annually to the Imperial Exchequer a sum calculated 
on her relative fiscal capacity, this sum to cover interest on 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


349 


the Irish share of the British National Debt, Irish contribu- 
tions to the Sinking Fund and to the cost of Imperial defence. 

The main object of this scheme was to give to each part 
of Ireland safeguards against oppression or coercion by the 
other, but at the same time to bring Irishmen together in a 
Central Parliament empowered to deal with the interests of 
Ireland as a whole and thus to foster among them a sense of 
national unity. At the moment when the scheme was pub- 
lished we had reason to believe that the greater part of pub- 
lic opinion in Ulster would welcome it and that at least sev- 
enty-five per cent, of the people of Munster, Leinster, and 
Connaught would accept it — if it were put through swiftly. 
Our leading article was discussed eagerly throughout Great 
Britain, Ireland, and also in the United States; and though 
the Government still declined to take positive action, they 
began to feel that something would have to be done. 

A Cabinet Committee of nine members was therefore ap- 
pointed in the autumn to examine the possibility of a settle- 
ment; and throughout the autumn The Times continued to sup- 
port the idea of a settlement by every available fact and 
argument. Towards the middle of January, 1920, a prominent 
member of the Cabinet Committee called upon me. He told 
me that though the Committee had approached the question 
from three different standpoints, none of which was the same 
as ours, it had, by a process of elimination, reached conclu- 
sions practically identical with ours. It had therefore de- 
cided to report unanimously to the Prime Minister in favour 
of a scheme which, in all essentials, might be taken for that 
which The Times had advocated; but it feared that, in view 
of this similarity, the Prime Minister would reject its report 
on the ground that it would enable “ Northcliffe and The Times 
to shout victory.” He therefore asked me what could be 
done. 

I told him that he and his colleagues must take a mean 
view of our motives if they thought we should allow journal- 
istic vanity of any kind to endanger a settlement. “Make 
your report to the Prime Minister,” I said, “ and give him the 
assurance which, if you wish, I will give you in writing that, 



350 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


even if the Government scheme is identical with ours down 
to the last comma, neither The Times nor any newspaper under 
Lord Northcliffe’s control will claim credit for it in editorial 
comment or even in a headline. It will be treated as the 
spontaneous product of the Cabinet and will be supported by 
The Timet in so far as it may in reality correspond to our own 
views, though we shall reserve our right to criticize any o'f 
its features which we may think defective.” 

The Cabinet Committee made its report to Mr. Lloyd 
George; and the Government scheme, which presently be- 
came the Government of Ireland Bill, was drafted. Though 
it reduced the area of the Northern Irish State to six coun- 
ties, instead of the whole nine counties of Ulster as we had 
advocated, and though it withheld fiscal autonomy, or the 
control of customs and excise, from Ireland, and whittled 
down the All-Ireland Parliament to an anaemic Central Coun- 
cil, we gave general support to it, urging such amendments as 
we thought proper and pressing only for speed in its enact- 
ment. 

The Act received the King’s assent on September 23, 1920, 
and preparations were made in the six counties of Ulster to 
carry it into effect. But, in the rest of Ireland, where the 
Sinn Fein movement had made great headway, it was not 
accepted. The Sinn Fein demand for an independent Irish 
Republic was maintained. The Dail, or Sinn Fein Parlia- 
ment, which had been set up in defiance of British authority, 
had organized its own courts and departments of Govern- 
ment so effectually that Dublin Castle Administration broke 
down. The barracks of the Royal Irish Constabulary were 
attacked and burned in many parts of the country until, to- 
wards the middle of 1920, the Constabulary were reinforced 
by other forces — nicknamed “Black and Tans,” after their 
uniforms — and, subsequently, by the Auxiliary Royal Irish 
Constabulary. A terrible period of ruffianism began, with 
organized shooting, looting, and burning on both sides, the 
real, if not the ostensible policy of the British Government 
being to give the Irish rebels a “ taste of their own medicine ” 
and to cast out the Irish devil by a British Beelzebub. 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


351 


Whether the balance of criminality inclined to the Irish or 
to the British side it was, and is, impossible to determine. 
The Irish methods were abominable but the deeds and re- 
prisals of the “ Black and Tans ” and of the Auxiliary Royal 
Irish Constabulary often caused those Englishmen who knew 
of them to blush. Many British officers of the better sort, 
who had served in Ireland, begged The Times to use all its 
influence to bring so deplorable a business to an end. We did 
our best — and incurred the deep displeasure, not only of the 
Government but of the public, which was unaware of the 
true position. While denouncing the villanies of the Irish 
“ gunmen ” we urged that a British Government, responsible 
for the good administration of a quarter of the human race, 
could not model its methods on those of a murder gang of 
Irish desperadoes; and we urged the folly of attempting to 
crush, by such methods, the resistance of “ gunmen ” who, 
as long as they were held to be “ patriotic ” by the mass of 
the Southern Irish people, would always be sheltered and 
helped against British reprisals. The only solution, we con- 
tended, would be so to amend the Government of Ireland Act 
as to make it acceptable to the more responsible leaders of 
the Southern Irish and to leave them to deal with their own 
recalcitrant “ gunmen ” who would not be likely to enjoy the 
same measure of support from the population when resisting 
Irish authority as they enjoyed when resisting British “ Black 
and Tan-ism.” 

The Times can rarely have been more unpopular in Eng- 
land than during this period. Its circulation fell. Members 
of the Government denounced it, in season and out of sea- 
son; and through many official channels the story was spread 
that its policy was inspired by a personal vendetta of North- 
cliffe against Lloyd George. Northcliffe was, indeed, placed 
in a difficult position. He supported us steadily, though with- 
out complete conviction, because he was persuaded that many 
of the “ gunmen ” in Ireland were not Irishmen at all, but 
criminal adventurers from Canada, the United States, and 
Australia. Strong pressure was also put upon him by mem- 
bers of his family; and he felt keenly the injustice of the in- 



352 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


sinuation that the policy of The Times was dictated by per- 
sonal animosity on his part against the Prime Minister. He 
viewed with concern the falling circulation of The Times . Yet 
he stood his ground almost to the last, despite threatening 
letters, and photographs with bullet holes marked in the fore- 
head, which were delivered by hand at his country house. \ 
also received threatening letters from Sinn Fein and “ Black 
and Tan ” sources alike ; and at one time an offer of police 
protection was made to me. I declined it. The Times office 
was, however, guarded by special detectives night and day. 

A PROFFERED TRUCE 

By the autumn of 1920, the development of the war in Ire- 
land — it deserved no lesser name — began to alarm both 
the British and the more reasonable of the Sinn Fein authori- 
ties. Mr. Arthur Griffith sent to London a special envoy whom 
Mr. C. J. Phillips (once more on temporary duty at the For- 
eign Office) brought into contact with ’some of the Prime 
Minister’s personal advisers. The basis of the negotiations 
were proposals for an armistice between Sinn Fein and the 
British authorities, each side to call off hostilities simul- 
taneously, and for a conference between representatives of 
both sides to discuss a possible settlement. Full fiscal auton- 
omy for the thirty-two counties of Southern Ireland, which 
were to have their own police and a militia under the con- 
trol of their own Parliament, were mentioned as possible con- 
ditions. The Navy was to remain under British control. 
When questioned about the Sinn Fein demand for a Repub- 
lic, the Irish envoy wittily replied: 

“ I am a fisherman, and when I fish for salmon (trolling), 
I may hook a perch, a pike, a trout, or a salmon. If I hook 
a perch, I regard him as a nuisance — he only wastes my 
time. I kill him and throw him away. If I hook a pike, 
he may give me some sport ; but I don’t want him, and he 
may damage my bait or line. If I hook a trout, I take him 
into the boat and, if he is big, I appreciate him. But if I 
were to get fifteen trout for my day, and not get a salmon, I 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


353 


Would tell any inquiring angler whom I might meet, if he 
asked me did I get a fish, that I did not, for to me and to him 
a fish would mean nothing but a salmon.” 

“ What about a salmon trout? ” was the next question, and 
the envoy answered, “ It would be better than a trout.” 

These negotiations lasted from the end of October until 
the beginning of December, 1920. I was informed of their 
course. Indeed, a summary of the conversations was brought 
to me almost daily and placed in custody in my safe. We 
supported the idea of a truce and of a conference through- 
out this period, as we had reason to know that a conference 
would have yielded results at least as favourable to Great 
Britain as those actually attained in the Irish Treaty a year 
later. But the British authorities in Dublin not only de- 
clined to stay, pending the result of the negotiations, the 
execution of Sinn Feiners whom they had caught, but they 
arrested Mr. Arthur Griffith himself. On November 9th, 
moreover, Mr. Lloyd George, who was aware of the nego- 
tiations, declared at the Lord Mayor’s Guildhall banquet that 
the British authorities had “murder by the throat.” There 
could be no peace in Ireland, he added, until the murder con- 
spiracy were crushed. Everyone desired peace, but “ when 
he had invited Irishmen to speak for Ireland, no one had 
dared to speak, so great was the terror. This tyranny must 
be broken.” 

In commenting upon this speech The Times said, on Novem- 
ber 10, 1920, “ It is not true that there was no response to 
the Prime Minister’s invitation. There was a response, but 
he ignored it ” ; and it added, “ the gravest of the grave 
charges to which the Government has laid itself open is that 
of not having sought, fairly and honestly, to enlist on the 
side of peace in Ireland the great bulk of Irish opinion that 
abhors murder.” 

Thus the efforts of Mr. Griffith’s envoy, and those of the 
Englishmen who helped him, were frustrated, and things went 
from bad to worse. The Crown forces in Ireland lost ground 
steadily, despite heavy reinforcements, until, in 1921, the 
military authorities in Ireland became convinced that the 



354 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


British Government had a choice between two alternatives — 
either to make peace, or to put an army of 250,000 men into 
Ireland, at a probable cost of £400,000,000, so as to crush all 
resistance and to hold the country down by main force. 

THE king’s VISIT TO ULSTER 

Whjle this was the situation in the South of Ireland, prepara- 
tions were being made in the North for the opening of the 
Ulster Parliament and for the installation of the Ulster Gov- 
ernment. Early in 1921 the King had consented to open in 
person the Parliament at Belfast. But, during the spring, 
fierce rioting with much bloodshed broke out in Belfast be- 
tween Orangemen and Catholics, and the local position became 
extremely strained. Early in June, the British Government 
announced, nevertheless, that the King and Queen would go 
to Belfast in state to open the Ulster Parliament on Wednes- 
day, June 22nd. The announcement caused serious misgivings 
in London. Two Irishmen, one of them Unionist and the 
other Nationalist in sympathies, called upon me in succession 
to say that if the King went to Belfast, he might be the vic- 
tim of an outrage, and to urge that the only means of avert- 
ing the danger would be for The Times to protest strongly 
against his going. Of the two, the Irishman of Ulster sympa- 
thies was the more emphatic. I admitted that the danger to 
the King was not imaginary, but said that if there could be 
one thing worse than the exposure of the King to peril, it 
would be the creation of a feeling that the King had been 
afraid to go; whereupon the Irishman exclaimed, dramatically, 
“ His blood be on your head.” 

It soon transpired that the King, who has never flinched 
from what he has thought his duty, was determined to go; 
and in The Times office we cast about for means of diminish- 
ing the danger to him, if danger there were. The Duke of 
Connaught had recently made, in the King-Emperor’s name, 
an admirable appeal for concord among the Indian peoples 
when opening the Indian Legislative Assembly. Therefore, 
we thought that, if the King could speak to Ireland at Bel- 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 365 

fast in a similar strain, not merely as King of Ireland but as 
the head of the whole Commonwealth of British peoples, his 
words might be heard. The policy followed by The Times 
since June, 1919, had given it special influence in Ireland. No 
Irish party agreed with it entirely, but alt honest Irishmen had 
become convinced of its sincerity and goodwill. 

Thus, after ascertaining, indirectly, the view of Lord Fitz- 
Alan, the Viceroy, and the nature of the advice which he 
would offer to the Crown, I asked Sir Edward Grigg, then 
Mr. Lloyd George’s political secretary and formerly a mem- 
ber of The Times’ editorial staff, to discuss the position with 
me. I told him that, if the Government would play its pan, 
The Times would be willing to assure the Irish people, before 
the King started for Belfast, and again on the day of his ar- 
rival there, that His Majesty would come as the Head of the 
Empire in a spirit of unfeigned goodwill towards all sections 
of the Irish people. I undertook to communicate these lead- 
ing articles of The Times to all the chief Irish newspapers in 
advance and to send The Times itself by aeroplane to Belfast 
on the morning of Wednesday, June 22nd, so that it might be 
widely distributed before the King’s arrival at noon that day. 

Sir Edward Grigg, whom I saw on Friday, June 17th, 
thought this idea excellent. He added, however, that it would 
be very difficult for the Government to “ play up ” because 
the Prime Minister felt very bitterly that the Irish did not 
trust him. I urged that the Government could not possibly 
let the King go to Ireland with a message of goodwill, yet 
do nothing to help him — and I urged that the Government 
should avail itself of an opportunity which would arise in the 
House of Lords on the afternoon of the King’s departure, to 
make some announcement that would favourably affect Irish 
feeling. An influential Irish peer, Lord Donoughmore, had 
brought forward in the House of Lords on Thursday, June 
16th, a motion for the amendment of the Government of Ire- 
land Act by the concession of full fiscal autonomy to Ireland. 
This debate stood adjourned until the afternoon of Tuesday, 
June 21st, and the King was to leave London for Belfast at 
noon that day. Therefore, I argued, the Government might 



356 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


sweeten the whole atmosphere by announcing in the House 
of Lords its readiness to grant fiscal autonomy. Grigg prom- 
ised to do his best; and I promised him that, in any case, The 
Times would go ahead and assure the Irish people on the 
morning of Monday, June 20th, and again on Wednesday, 
June 22nd, that the King was coming in a conciliatory and 
fatherly spirit. 


A HARD DECISION 

On the Monday, The Times consequently published a lead- 
ing article of which the principal passage ran: 

The exalted conception of his Royal and Imperial duties that has 
inspired the King in every act of his reign, has certainly impelled 
him to undertake a task which, in happier circumstances, might well 
have seemed to possess a wider and more significant scope. It 
would, however, be wholly wrong to regard this visit as a visit to 
Ulster alone. The Ulster Parliament has been first in the field in 
accepting the Government of Ireland Act; but the King is, and feels 
himself to be, King of the whole of Ireland. He would have gone 
with equal readiness and pleasure to inaugurate a Southern Irish 
Parliament or to discharge the greater function of opening a united 
Parliament for Ireland. The Ulstermen who have taken their new 
Constitution at the hands of the Imperial Parliament are neither 
more nor less his subjects and our fellow citizens than the 
Irishmen who have hitherto refused it. The King's solicitude for the 
welfare and happiness of the South is no less sincere than his regard 
for the North, but his affection for Ireland as a whole is deeper than 
either. His visit to the capital of Ulster implies no favouritism 
towards any one section of his Irish subjects. It implies the per- 
formance of a truly Royal duty in conveying to a new self-governing 
unit and, indeed, to the Irish nation, in the name of the Empire, 
greetings and a pledge of goodwill on behalf of all the peoples of 
that mighty brotherhood. In this sense, but in this sense alone, the 
Royal visit to Belfast should be regarded as a political manifestation. 
The lofty impartiality of the Crown transcends sectional differences 
and enables its wearer to view, not only without resentment, but 
with fatherly care, even those who would fain deny its authority or 
renounce their allegiance. 

This article was also published simultaneously in the chief 
Irish newspapers of the North and the South. But, on the 
Tuesday night, when the final proofs of a second leading arti- 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 35? 

cle were being corrected in readiness for the despatch of The 
Times by aeroplane to Belfast early next morning, reports of 
speeches delivered by Lord Birkenhead, the Lord Chancellor, 
in the House of Lords upon Lord Donoughmore’s motion that 
afternoon, and by the Secretary for War, Sir Laming Worth- 
ington-Evans, in the House of Commons that evening, were 
brought to me. To my horror I saw that both of them were at 
variance with the terms in which, I had reason to hope, the 
King’s Speech at Belfast had been drafted by the Cabinet. 
Lord Birkenhead rejected Lord Donoughmore’s and Lord 
Dunraven’s appeal for the grant of fiscal autonomy and for 
a conciliatory policy, reminded the Irish of the “ stubborn and 
tenacious character ” of the English people, alluded to Eng- 
lish pertinacity during the Great War, and concluded, “ If 
we should be forced to the melancholy conclusion that by 
force, and force alone, can this mischief be exterminated or 
prevented, it is a conclusion which, however sorrowfully we 
accept it, we shall not hesitate logically and completely to 
act upon.” 

In the House of Commons, Sir Laming Worthington-Evana 
said the troops in Ireland were fully employed. The condi- 
tions were far worse than war. In war there was a back area 
in which some rest could be obtained, but in Ireland there was 
no safety or security of any kind. It was said that more 
troops should be sent. That was exactly what the British 
Government were doing. Battalions were being sent across 
as fast as possible. Officers and men on duty in Ireland 
would be supported with the full might of England. Unity 
of command had also been recommended. That soldiers and 
police should be brought under one command meant the exten- 
sion of martial law in Ireland. The Government were now 
considering the matter; and if it were found necessary, for 
the purpose of giving proper support to the troops, he hoped 
it would be carried out. 

As I read these reports and scanned again the proofs of the 
leading article, I felt that I had never had a harder decision 
to take. The Times y leading article began: 



358 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


To-day the mind of the nation turns eagerly and anxiously towards 
Ireland. Above all else, its hopes and prayers are centred upon the 
King and Queen, and upon their solemn mission of peace, so duti- 
fully and so generously undertaken. Rarely has the tide of loyal 
gratitude run more strongly or more deeply in the hearts of the 
people. Once, in an age of simple faith, it was held that the divine 
authority of the Monarchy was manifest in the power of the Sover- 
eign to cure the ills of his people by the Royal touch. That belief 
did not survive the pretensions of the House of Stuart; but, since 
their days, it has reappeared in another form, for Englishmen have 
learned that, where the nostrums of politicians have failed to abate 
the heats and fevers of the time, Royal intervention has seldom 
failed to bring relief. Therefore, they find ground for hope in to- 
day^ proceedings at Belfast. To them the Irish problem, with all its 
daunting perplexities, has seemed insoluble, and they have looked, 
but looked in vain, for light or guidance from their elected repre- 
sentatives. But now that the King himself has gone to Ireland, they 
feel a new confidence. Therefore, the words of the Royal message 
will be read throughout the land this evening and to-morrow with 
an attention and respect which none save the King can command. 
The nation believes that in him its trust is not misplaced. 

How could I sanction the publication of such an article 
when, in both the Houses of Parliament, the spokesmen of the 
Government had just spoken in an entirely different spirit? 
On the other hand, if those speeches were to go to Ireland 
unqualified by comment, they might aggravate the very dan- 
ger which The Times had been labouring to avert. In a few 
moments, my decision was taken. I gave orders for the 
speech of the Secretary for War, which was the worse of the 
two, to be omitted from the edition of The Times destined for 
Ireland, and I let the leading article stand — with the addi- 
tion of a severe rebuke to the Lord Chancellor and to the 
Government. 

Next day, we awaited with comprehensible anxiety the text 
of the King’s speech and the news of his reception in Belfast. 
In the loyalty of its enthusiasm, the reception surpassed all 
expectations. The speech ran: 

For all who love Ireland, as I do with all my heart, this is a pro- 
foundly moving occasion in Irish history. My memories of the 
Irish people date back to the time when I spent many happy days 
in Ireland as a midshipman. My affection for the Irish people has 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


359 


been deepened by successive visits since that time, and I have 
watched with constant sympathy the course of their affairs. I 
could not have allowed myself to give Ireland, by deputy alone, my 
earnest prayers and good wishes in the new era which opens with 
this ceremony, and I have therefore come in person, as the Head of 
the Empire, to inaugurate this Parliament on Irish soil. I inaugurate 
it with deep-felt hope, and I feel assured that you will do your 
utmost to make it an instrument of happiness and good government 
for all parts of the community which you represent. 

This is a great and critical occasion in the history of the Six 
Counties, but not for the Six Counties alone; for everything which 
interests them touches Ireland, and everything which touches Ireland 
finds an echo in the remotest parts of the Empire. Few things are 
more earnestly desired throughout the English-speaking world than 
a satisfactory solution of the age-long Irish problems which, for 
generations, embarrassed our forefathers as they now weigh heavily 
upon us. Most certainly there is no wish nearer my own heart than 
that every man of Irish birth, whatever be his creed and wherever 
be his home, should work in loyal cooperation with the free com- 
munities on which the British Empire is based. 

I am confident that the important matters entrusted to the control 
and guidance of the Northern Parliament will be managed with 
wisdom and with moderation, with fairness and due regard to every 
faith and interest, and with no abatement of that patriotic devotion 
to the Empire which you proved so gallantly in the Great War. 
Full partnership in the United Kingdom, and religious freedom, Ire- 
land has long enjoyed. She now has conferred upon her the duty of 
dealing with all the essential tasks of domestic legislation and govern- 
ment; and I feel no misgiving as to the spirit in which you who 
stand here to-day will carry out the all-important functions entrusted 
to your care. 

My hope is broader still. The eyes of the whole Empire are on 
Ireland to-day — that Empire in which so many nations and races 
have come together in spite of ancient feuds, and in which new 
nations have come to birth within the lifetime of the youngest in 
this Hall. I am emboldened by that thought to look beyond the 
sorrow and the anxiety which have clouded of late my vision of 
Irish affairs. I speak from a full heart when I pray that my coming 
to Ireland to-day may prove to be the first step towards an end of 
strife amongst her people, whatever their race or creed. 

In that hope I appeal to all Irishmen to pause, to stretch out the 
hand of forbearance and conciliation, to forgive and to forget, and to 
join in making for the land which they love a new era of peace, con- 
tentment and goodwill. It is my earnest desire that, in Southern 
Ireland too, there may ere long take place a parallel to what is now 



360 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


passing in this Hail; that there a similar occasion may present itself 
and a similar ceremony be performed. 

For this the Parliament of the United Kingdom has in the fullest 
measure provided the powers; for this the Parliament of Ulster is 
pointing the way. The future lies in the hands of my Irish people 
themselves. May this historic gathering be the prelude of a day in 
which the Irish people, North and South, under one Parliament or 
two, as those Parliaments may themselves decide, shall work together 
in common love for Ireland upon the sure foundation of mutual 
justice and respect. 

Public relief at the happy course of the King’s visit was 
intense. When he returned to London on the Thursday eve- 
ning, huge crowds awaited him at Euston Station and still 
larger crowds assembled before Buckingham Palace to cheer 
him and the Queen. The Government, against which resent- 
ment was strong, hastened to congratulate their Majesties upon 
the success of their visit. On the Thursday morning The 
Times commented upon the situation in a leading article called 
“Playing the Game,” which concluded: 

Truly, those members of the Government who believe that the 
“war” policy [in Ireland] is wrong, yet acquiesce in it rather than 
risk their offices, cut a sorry figure. But the Government as a whole 
cut a figure sorrier still. They have failed to “play the game” 
towards the Sovereign who, with high courage and sense of duty, has 
played the game with them, with his peoples, and with the Empire. 

I learned afterwards, on unimpeachable authority, that cer- 
tain passages in the King’s speech had been written by some 
members of the Cabinet on the Monday under the influence 
of the leading article in The Times; and that there had been a 
long debate in the Cabinet that day upon the expediency of 
granting fiscal autonomy to Ireland. At last, the proposal was 
rejected by a narrow majority on the plea that the British 
electorate would condemn a Government that had let the Bel- 
fast shipowners off their proper contribution to Imperial 
revenue. 

Fortunately, the effect of this little-heartedness was more 
than neutralized by the King’s bearing. Under the influence 
of the enthusiasm at Belfast and the manifestations of loyal 
relief upon the King’s return to London, Mr. Lloyd George 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


361 


wrote, on Friday, June 24th, letters to Mr. De Valera, the 
Sinn Fein leader, and to Sir James Craig, the Prime Minister 
of Ulster, inviting them to a conference in London with mem- 
bers of the British Government. Though Sir James Craig 
accepted the invitation, Mr. De Valera hesitated and made 
conditions; but, after a visit from General Smuts to Dublin, 
a truce was proclaimed in Ireland on July 11, 1921, and the 
Anglo-Irish Conference met at Downing Street on September 
29th. Through long and difficult negotiations it led to an 
agreement in the early hours of December 6th, when Southern 
Ireland was given the same constitutional status as the British 
Dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South 
Africa, with the style of the “ Irish Free State,” the position 
of Ulster remaining as defined by the Government of Ireland 
Act. 

Relief at this agreement was the more intense because hope 
of attaining it had been almost lost. Though I had left Eng- 
land at the end of October, 1921, to attend the Washington 
Conference on the Limitation of Armaments, many congratu- 
lations reached me personally, by telegram and letter, from all 
parts of Great Britain and from many parts of the United 
States, while The Times was recognized on all hands to have 
been instrumental in bringing about the settlement. From the 
moment of the King’s speech at Belfast in June, and especially 
after the proclamation of the Irish truce in July, the circula- 
tion The Times had lost by its advocacy of Irish peace was 
speedily regained and its position as the leading British journal 
was once more vindicated. Among the personal messages I 
received, that from the veteran journalist, man of letters and 
statesman, the late Lord Morley of Blackburn (better known 
as John Morley) may, without indiscretion, be reproduced. It 
ran: 

Flowermead, 

Princes Road, 
Wimbledon Park, S. W. 

December 6 , 1921. 

Dear Mr. Wickham Steed: 

Forgive me for intruding on you a word of admiring gratitude, 
appreciation, and respect for your most powerful, persevering, and 



362 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


splendid share in the great event of the day. As an old hand in the 
Irish battle, I know only too well the risks, perils, and countless 
perversities of it. If The Times had been less firm and tactful, things 
would have gone wrong as fatally as they did with us others when The 
Times was relentless against us for thirty years. Lord Rosebery 
and I are the only two survivors, I think, of the first Home Rule 
Cabinet. And one of the two has long ceased to wave the flag. 

Pray do not quarrel with me for this salutation. 

Yours sincerely, 

Morley of B. 


THE WASHINGTON CONFERENCE 

The Irish settlement undoubtedly helped to ensure the suc- 
cess of the Washington Conference on the Limitation of Arma- 
ments. The influence of Irishmen in the United States ceased 
to be actively anti-British, and the British Delegation to the 
Washington Conference was regarded with greater goodwill 
than before. One of our objects in seeking to promote an Irish 
settlement was thus attained. From the moment when it had 
become known, in June, 1921, that President Harding wished 
to convene the Conference, Northcliffe had understood its 
significance and agreed that The Times should do everything 
possible to ensure its success. But Mr. George Harvey, the 
American Ambassador to London, felt misgivings as to the 
reception of President Harding's idea by the British Govern- 
ment. He feared, not altogether without reason, that some of 
its members wished Great Britain to take the initiative in con- 
vening a similar conference, and that any public manifestation 
of such a wish might be construed in the United States as proof 
of British jealousy. On July 6, 1921, a stir was made in the 
United States by an announcement that the British Govern- 
ment had invited the United States to join the Anglo- Japanese 
Alliance and thus to transform it into an Anglo- Japanese- 
American arrangement about the Pacific. Feeling in America 
against the Anglo- Japanese Alliance was strong, and the de- 
cisions of the British Imperial Conference (then assembled in 
London) upon its renewal were awaited with anxiety. I hap- 
pened to meet Mr. Harvey at a reception towards midnight on 
Friday, July 8th, when he said, in a weary tone, “ Your people 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 363 

can upset the bag of beans if they want to, and, by golly, 
theyVe nearly done it.” A declaration which Mr. Lloyd 
George had made the day before in the House of Commons to 
the effect that his ability to make a statement upon the Anglo- 
Japanese Treaty on Monday, July 11th, would depend “ upon 
the replies received from the United States of America, Japan, 
and China,” had perturbed the American Ambassador; and 
though this passage had been struck out of the official report of 
Parliamentary proceedings and a semi-official explanation had 
been issued that there could be no question of “ replies ” from 
the United States, China, and Japan since no invitations had 
been issued, Mr. Harvey felt that the British Government 
might be contemplating some step which his Government would 
not understand. He alluded to the likelihood that the United 
States would not be able to accept an invitation to a British 
Conference, on account of American feeling against the Anglo- 
Japanese Alliance. 

I told Mr. Harvey that a leading article had already been 
written, and would appear in The Times next morning, to 
remind our Government of the need for care in the matter of 
procedure, lest mistakes of method prevent the attainment of 
an object common to the British and the American peoples. 
But he was not reassured and asked me to see him next morning 
to discuss the situation. 

When I called at his house he said, “ Before I was out of 
bed this morning I had the whole of The Times editorial cabled 
to Washington. I nearly jumped out of my skin for joy. I 
think it will just do the trick and he asked me “ to be on 
tap ” at 6 o’clock next [Sunday] evening, because there might 
be important developments. But at that hour on Sunday there 
were no developments, and the Ambassador was “ in the coun- 
try.” By 10 o’clock, however, a public announcement came 
from Washington that President Harding had asked Great 
Britain, France, Italy, and Japan whether they would be ready 
to take part in a conference at Washington upon the limitation 
of armaments and also upon Pacific and Far Eastern problems. 

A few minutes later a message was telephoned to me from 
the Prime Minister’s residence at Chequers, where the Domin- 



364 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

ion Prime Ministers were spending a week-end with him, to 
ask that, in commenting upon President Harding’s invitation, 
The Times would give due credit to “ the British initiative.” 
The meaning of this message became clearer shortly after mid- 
night when Mr. Harvey returned to London and informed me 
that he had been able to deliver President Harding’s invitation 
to the Prime Minister at Chequers at the very moment when' 
Mr. Lloyd George was discussing with the Dominion Prime 
Ministers a definite proposal to send out British invitations 
to a similar conference. It appeared that, upon receiving the 
leading article from The Times of Saturday, which Mr. Harvey 
had cabled, President Harding, who was on board his yacht, 
had written out with his own hand the invitation to the Wash- 
ington Conference and had caused it to be sent by wireless to 
the State Department at Washington. Owing to delay in 
ciphering and deciphering, President Harding’s invitation to 
Great Britain had only reached Mr. Harvey late on the Sun- 
day afternoon, when he had motored to Chequers and delivered 
it to the Prime Minister. Thus, an unfortunate clash between 
British and American invitations had been avoided. 

President Harding’s invitation was soon accepted, and the 
date of the Washington Conference fixed. At that moment 
Lord Northcliffe was about to start on a journey to the Pacific 
and round the world which his doctors had ordered him to 
take for reasons of health. As soon as it appeared that the 
Conference in Washington would meet in November, he insisted 
not only that I should attend it but that I should accompany 
him on his journey to the United States and Canada and as 
far as the Pacific coast, in order to study on the spot the con- 
ditions under which the Conference would meet and to deter- 
mine the policy of The Times in regard to it. He felt that, 
unless some meansi were found to terminate the Anglo- Japanese 
Alliance — preferably by merging it in a more general agree- 
ment about the Pacific — and to meet American wishes on the 
limi t.at.inn of naval armaments, a serious situation might grow 
up between the United States and Japan, and that the position 
of the British Empire might become extremely embarrassing 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 365 

notwithstanding the fact that the Anglo- Japanese Alliance wa» 
not, and could not be, directed against the United States. 

AN “ INTERVIEW ” 

We sailed from Southampton on Saturday, July 16, 1921, 
and reached New York a week later. The heat in New York 
was overwhelming. Northcliffe tried to escape from it by stay- 
ing with a friend outside the city. Thus I was left to deal 
with the legion of reporters who were anxious to secure state- 
ments from him upon the Washington Conference, the Irish 
situation, and, in particular, upon the boycott which the For- 
eign Office had declared against The Times in view of its 
opposition to Mr. Lloyd George’s and Lord Curzon’s candi- 
datures as delegates to the Washington Conference. Upon the 
question of the “ Curzon boycott ” Lord Northcliffe said that 
“ it was distasteful to him to discuss domestic affairs in a for- 
eign country ” ; and I also avoided all reference to it. On 
Sunday, July 24th, however, the New York Herald published 
a long and obviously well-informed despatch from London 
upon the prospective terms of an Anglo-Irish settlement. 
Anxious to obtain Lord Northcliffe’s views upon them, the 
editor of the New York Herald telephoned to him, and was 
advised to ask me for a statement which the New York Herald 
could publish in Lord Northcliffe’s name. Consequently, I 
dictated some careful comment upon the Herald T s despatch 
from London and confirmed the accuracy of its contention that 
the improvement in the Irish situation had been due to the 
King’s speech at Belfast. This statement, which I revised in 
manuscript, was published prominently in the New York 
Herald of Monday, July 25th. 

But, by some means or other, the New York Times ascer- 
tained, on the Sunday evening, that the New York Herald was 
about to publish, as authorized by Lord Northcliffe, a state- 
ment which I had made; and the editor asked me whether I 
would not make a similar statement on behalf of Lord North- 
cliffe to the New York Times also. I answered that I was not 
authorized to make a second statement; but, on being preseed 



366 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


to make a personal statement, I consented to do so. A reporter 
from the New York Times came during dinner. While we were 
chatting informally, a message was brought to him inviting 
me to visit the New York Times office after dinner. I accepted, 
and agreed to dictate the statement in the New York Times 
office so that I could correct the manuscript before it was 
printed. 

On reaching the New York Times office, I was told that the 
editor had telephoned to Lord Northcliffe, who had authorized 
me to make a statement in his name to the New York Times 
also. Therefore I dictated it as carefully as I had done in the 
case of the New York Herald, correcting the manuscript punc- 
tiliously before it went to the printer; and on being assured 
that nothing more would be published, except an account of 
Lord Northcliffe’s movements during the day, I left the New 
York Times office at midnight. 

To my astonishment, I found next morning that the state- 
ment I had made in the name of Lord Northcliffe was pub- 
lished in an obscure position and that an alleged “ interview ” 
with me was published prominently. It gave, in inverted com- 
mas, the text of an acrimonious conversation which was alleged 
to have taken place between £he British Prime Minister and 
the King after the King’s return from Belfast. I knew, and 
know, nothing of the terms of any such conversation. 

I sought at once to communicate with the editor of the New 
York Times, but found that he would not be accessible until 
the Monday evening. In the meantime, Mr. Raymond Carroll, 
the New York correspondent of the Philadelphia Public Ledger, 
whom I had long known, called to enquire about the alleged 
“ interview.” He asked whether it were not a breach of trust. 
I assured him that it was worse than a breach of trust, since 
there had been no foundation for the words which I was alleged 
to have attributed to the King. 

A CHAPTER OP ACCIDENTS 

But that morning, unknown to me, an extraordinary contre- 
temps had occurred. Lord Northcliffe had telephoned from 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


367 


the country to our office in New York and, on being asked 
whether he wished his statements to be telegraphed to Eng- 
land, had been understood to say the statements I had made 
should be cabled in his name. This was done but, by some 
oversight, the “ interview ” attributed to me by the New York 
Times was also telegraphed in Northcliffe’s name. When he 
returned to New York in the evening to attend a dinner given 
in his honour, I met him for a few moments, in the presence of 
others, but had no opportunity to discuss the “ interview ” 
with him because, at that moment, the British Embassy at 
Washington telephoned to suggest that a secretary should come 
to New York to discuss arrangements for Northcliffe’s pro- 
jected visit to Washington. Northcliffe asked me, however, to 
go that night to Washington myself and to make the arrange- 
ments for his reception by President Harding. Therefore I 
left for Washington, still unaware that the “ interview ” had 
been telegraphed to England as having been given by 
Northcliffe. 

Not until the following Friday, in Washington, did we leam 
of the sensation which this “ interview ” had, comprehensibly, 
made in England and of the communication from the King 
which the Prime Minister had read to the House of Commons. 
Lord Northcliffe telegraphed at once a denial to Lord Stam- 
fordham, the King’s Secretary, and we left Washington that 
evening for New York on our way to Toronto. Next morning, 
July 30th, the New York Times, published spontaneously a 
statement to the effect that “ I had not had an opportunity of 
revising the manuscript of the interview ” ; and, unknown to 
me, the New York correspondent of the Philadelphia Public 
Ledger, telegraphed to his paper an account of his conversation 
with me on the previous Monday when, three days before the 
stir in London, I had declared the “ interview ” to be baseless. 
Inasmuch as his independent testimony was far more valuable 
than any subsequent statement from me could have been, I 
gave instructions for it to be telegraphed to London. It 
appeared prominently in The Times of August 1st and ran: 

New York, July SO. 

The Philadelphia Public Ledger this morning prints prominently 



368 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


a despatch from its New York correspondent, Mr. Raymond Carroll, 
in which he states that on Monday, four days before Mr. Lloyd 
George read the King’s statement in the House of Commons, he 
saw Mr. Steed at the Hotel Gotham, New York, and showed him a 
copy of the New York Times in which Mr. Steed was reported to 
have quoted the King as having asked Mr. Lloyd George if he was 
going to shoot all the people in Ireland and to have told the Prime 
Minister, "I cannot have my people killed in this manner.” Mr. 
Carroll states that Mr. Steed immediately replied, “ I never said it.” 

Mr. Carroll adds that Mr. Steed was “plainly very hurt at the 
treatment he had received” from the man sent to interview him on 
the Irish question. Mr. Steed said it was not a question of violation 
of confidence, which would have been bad enough. He insisted “I 
never said it at all.” 

At the same time Reuter’s Agency issued the following tele- 
gram from New York: 

80th July , 1921. 

New York, July 81. — Mr. Wickham Steed, the editor of The 
Times, questioned in regard to his alleged interview with a repre- 
sentative of the New York Times said: 

“ Direct statements are attributed to me. I did not make and I 
could not have made them because neither Mr. Lloyd George nor 
the King told me what they said to one another. Regarding the 
actual facts of the Irish situation, it is a fact that none can contest 
that the possible settlements growing out of the truce can directly 
be attributed to the King’s speech at Belfast — a great-hearted and 
considerate speech. 

“ It is also incontestable that the King feels for all his subjects an 
equal solicitude and nothing would rejoice him more than to see pros- 
pective peace in Ireland. The Times has worked very hard for two 
years to promote the Irish settlement that the Government seems to 
be approaching. We have given the Lloyd George Government our 
fullest support when it seemed to be treading the path of peace, and 
we shall continue to give our fullest support to efforts towards a 
successful conclusion. No one knows that better than Mr. Lloyd 
George who for two years has had pertinent reason to know how 
true it is. That, and that alone, was the sense of the quite informal 
talk I had with a representative of the New York Times .” 

Reuter. 

There, as far as I was concerned, the matter ended; but in 
justice to my colleagues of the American and Canadian press 
it is right to say that in no other of the many dozens of “ inter- 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


369 


views ” with, and statements by, me which they published 
during my journey, were my words seriously misrepresented. 


THE PACIFIC PROBLEM 

From Toronto, Northcliffe and I travelled to Vancouver, 
whence he sailed for New Zealand. We spent some hours in 
Winnipeg on the way and were accompanied, during portions 
of the journey, by prominent Canadian publicists. From them, 
and at Vancouver as well as at Victoria (British Columbia), 
and, subsequently, at Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and 
San Diego, I gained impressions of the American- Japanese 
situation, and of the position of British Columbia and the 
Western provinces of the Dominion of Canada in regard to it, 
that convinced me of the need for a reconsideration of the 
prospective policy of the British Empire at the Washington 
Conference. Unless the Anglo- Japanese Alliance could be 
abrogated, or merged painlessly into some more general agree- 
ment, I came to the conclusion that the people of British 
Columbia, and of Western Canada generally, would be likely 
to side with the United States in any conflict that might arise 
between Japan and America in the Pacific; and that, if only 
for the sake of Canadian cohesion, the Eastern provinces of 
the Dominion would stand with the Western provinces. 

The reasons for anti- Japanese feeling in Western Canada 
are too well-known to need explanation. The consideration 
which appealed most strongly to me was that Japanese settlers 
and fishermen, who were subject to Japanese military disci- 
pline, had acquired so detailed a knowledge of the topography 
and the strategic possibilities of British Columbia, as to be 
able, in the event of a conflict, practically to sever communi- 
cations between British Columbia and the rest of the world in 
a few hours. I discussed these possibilities with the British 
authorities on the spot and also with the Commander of the 
American Pacific Squadron which was then at Vancouver. I 
found them alive to the situation. After visiting California 
and returning to Washington I discussed the outlook also with 
the Secretary of State, Mr. Hughes and, very frankly, with 



370 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

the Japanese Ambassador, Mr. Shidehara, whom I asked to 
inform Viscount Makino, Count Chinda, and other friends in 
Japan of my belief that Japan would be wise to accept the 
transformation of the Anglo- Japanese Alliance into a larger 
and more general agreement, and to come to Washington with 
such a policy of peace as to ensure the success of the. 
Conference. 

From Washington I went to Montreal and Ottawa, where I 
was able to consult Mr. Meighen, the Prime Minister, and the 
Governor-General, Lord Byng; and, on returning to England 
in the second half of September, I put my conclusions confi- 
dentially before the Admiralty, the Foreign Office and, subse- 
quently, Mr. Balfour, after his appointment as chief British 
delegate to the Conference. 

At that moment, the policy favoured by Lord Curzon and 
the Government was based on the consideration that the Brit- 
ish Empire, as the ally of Japan — though not technically her 
ally against the United States — and as a great Asiatic Power, 
ought to strive for peace in the Pacific by holding the balance 
even between Japan and the United States. To this end, it 
was thought, the British Delegation should maintain at Wash- 
ington an attitude of lofty, albeit friendly, neutrality towards 
each of them so that its impartiality might not be open to 
question should British good offices be needed in any dispute, 
or clash of interests, that might arise between Japan and the 
United States. 

My enquiries inclined me to doubt the wisdom of this policy. 
I thought that, since the British Empire could not side with 
Japan — in arms or politically — in the event of a Japanese- 
American war, and since it might not be possible for some 
portions of the British Empire to keep out of such a conflict, 
Japan ought to know that aggressive action on her part might 
compel all the English-speaking nations to side against her. 
Clearness on this point, it seemed to me, would strengthen the 
hands of moderate statesmen in Japan and help them to mod- 
erate the tendencies of the Japanese General Staff and to 
increase the chances of a successful Conference at Washington. 
No position, I felt, could well be less dignified or more danger- 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


371 


ous than that of a British delegation at Washington which, 
after endeavouring to remain benevolently neutral as between 
the United States and Japan at the Washington Conference — 
with the result that the suspicions of both would be aroused — 
should presently be compelled, by care for the cohesion of the 
British Empire, to support the United States. Should the 
Washington Conference break down, it would leave the situa- 
tion worse than before; and the best means of making the 
Washington Conference succeed would be for the American 
and the Japanese governments to know, from the outset, 
exactly where the British Empire stood. No offence to Japan 
would necessarily be involved in a straightforward policy. As 
soon as the Japanese Government should perceive that the 
British Government fully realized the possible implications of 
a Japanese-American conflict, it would understand that, in 
working for a settlement, the British delegation would be serv- 
ing the higher interests of Japan herself. 

I have reason to think that a confidential memorandum 
which I based on these considerations had some influence upon 
British policy at the Washington Conference. Mr. Balfour 
certainly appreciated its main arguments; and Sir Robert Bor- 
den, the chief Canadian delegate, to whom I gave a copy of it 
on my return to the United States in November, 1921, ex- 
pressed complete agreement with it. Indeed, before I left 
Washington at the end of December, he urged me to make a 
flying trip to Canada and to speak upon the Washington Con- 
ference so as to help Canadians to understand that it was not 
something into which the British Empire and Canada had 
been inveigled by the United States, but was essentially in 
harmony with Canadian and British interests. Thus I spoke 
to large audiences at Montreal, Toronto, and Hamilton. Sena- 
tor Pearce and Sir John Salmond, the delegates of Australia 
and New Zealand respectively, were also in agreement with my 
general view. 

BALFOUR, THE PRESBYTERIAN 

The course and results of the Washington Conference hardly 
need description. Among the international gatherings I have 



372 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


attended it was unique in its atmosphere of goodwill, in com- 
parative freedom from petty intrigue and in the directness of 
purpose shown by its organizers. Its opening was preceded by 
the burial of the American “Unknown Warrior” in the ceme- 
tery at Arlington where a service was held in the magnificent 
open-air amphitheatre there. The Americans have a genius 
for reproducing great monuments in classical styles ; and I am 
inclined to think some of their original architecture the most 
interesting in the modern world. The service at Arlington was 
evangelical in its simplicity. While watching it, I found myself 
wondering whether any “ high-brow ” British or European 
diplomatist would ever be able to understand the American 
people. Here was President Harding — a Baptist — with Mr. 
Hughes, his Secretary of State — also a Baptist — by his side, 
and most of the members of his Cabinet, Baptists, Methodists, 
or some other kind of what would be called in England “ Non- 
conformists.” Next day, I happened to meet Mr. Balfour in 
the street and spoke to him of the thought that had crossed 
my mind. He smiled and said, “ Do you know, while I was 
sitting on the platform at Arlington, something like your idea 
passed through my own mind, and I said to myself, ‘Thank 
God I In Scotland I am a Presbyterian.’ ” 

Unwittingly, Mr. Balfour thus gave me a clue to his success 
at Washington. Whereas, at the Paris Peace Conference, 
where I had seen him frequently, I had been disheartened by 
his sceptical and half-amused detachment from the intrigues, 
appetites, and passions that filled the lives and vitiated the 
work of most of his fellow delegates, I found him at Washing- 
ton so full of fervour that I came to believe in the existence of 
a “ Presbyterian Balfour ” of whom his fellow countrymen 
had no knowledge. In Paris he had been so bored that he 
frequently slept during the meetings of the Council of Ten 
and during those of the minor Council of Four that continued 
to sit after the signing of the Peace on July 19, 1919. His 
faculty for sleeping during long discussions had then been the 
subject of a good story. When the minor Council of Four was 
about to meet, Signor Tittoni, the Italian representative, had 
asked Clemenceau, as Chairman, not to convene it earlier than 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 373 

3:30 in the afternoon, because his doctor had ordered him 
always to take a nap after luncheon. Thereupon Mr. Polk, 
the American representative, had begged Clemenceau not to 
extend the sittings beyond 6:30 p. m. because Mr. Polk had 
been ordered, for reasons of health, always to take a nap before 
dinner. Clemenceau, then in his seventy-ninth year, with a 
bullet in his lung, said vigorously, “Good. The sittings of the 
Council will begin at 3:30 precisely, and will end at 6:30 pre- 
cisely. Thus, M. Tittoni will be able to sleep before them, 
Mr. Polk will sleep after them, and Mr. Balfour will sleep 
during them.” 

In Washington Mr. Balfour may have slept at night, but he 
showed no signs of sleeping at the sittings of the Conference. 
So vigorous was he, so young and keen, that he was wittily 
chaffed on this score by Secretary Hughes at a dinner of the 
famous Gridiron Club in December, 1921. In proposing Mr. 
Balfour’s health, Mr. Hughes said, “ Many years ago, we used 
to hear of a British public man whose elegant scepticism 
parried all the thrusts of his opponents. His name was Bal- 
four. He wrote books which were widely read in this country. 
They were called 1 Philosophic Doubt ’ and 1 The Foundations 
of Belief.’ Can the Balfour we have seen in our midst, so alert, 
so full of fire, of faith and of zeal, so ardent in his belief, be 
the same Balfour? — for those were very slender Foundations 
of Belief.” 

No delegate to the Washington Conference moved it, or the 
American public, more deeply than Mr. Balfour; and when the 
Anglo- Japanese Alliance had been successfully sublimated into 
the Four Power Pacific Treaty, he spoke of the Anglo- Japanese 
Alliance — of which he had been one of the authors as British 
Prime Minister in 1902 — with an eloquence that went far to 
remove any bitterness the Japanese may have felt. He said: 

This [Anglo-Japanese] Treaty, remember, was not a Treaty that 
had to be renewed. It was a Treaty that ran until it should be 
formally denounced by one of the two parties to it. It is true that 
the objects for which the Treaty had been created no longer required 
international attention; but after all, that Treaty, or its predecessors, 
has been in existence within a few days of twenty years. It has 



374 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


served a great purpose in two great ways. It has stood the strain 
of common sacrifices, common anxieties, common efforts, common 
triumphs. When two nations have been united in that fiery ordeal, 
they cannot, at the end of it, take off their hats one to the other and 
politely part as two strangers might part who had traveled together 
for a few hours in a railway train. Something more, something closer, 
unites them than the mere words of the Treaty; and, as it were, 
gratuitously and without a cause, to have torn up the written con- 
tract, although it serves no longer any valid or effective purpose, 
might have led to misunderstandings in one nation just as much as 
the maintenance of that Treaty has led to misunderstandings in 
another. 

A part less prominent than that of Mr. Balfour, but very 
noteworthy, was taken in the earlier stages of the Conference 
by Admiral Lord Beatty, the British First Sea Lord. When 
Secretary Hughes sprang upon the Conference, at its opening 
sitting, his drastic proposals for reductions in naval armaments, 
not a few American naval officers looked askance at a pro- 
gramme which threatened seriously to cut athwart their 
careers and the development of the service to which they were 
devoted. They half expected to find their British naval com- 
rades animated by similar feelings — as doubtless many of 
them were; but, in private conferences with American officers, 
Lord Beatty made plain his conviction that it was the duty 
of every sailor, after such a war as that which had just been 
fought, to place his citizenship before his professional interests 
and to work whole-heartedly for the limitation of naval arma- 
ments. He might easily have turned professional feeling 
against the Hughes programme. To his honour, he took the 
harder and the higher path. 

Indeed, the whole British Imperial delegation, with hardly 
an exception, worked magnificently, and as a well-trained 
team, at the Washington Conference, the chief trainer being 
the British Ambassador in Washington, Sir Auckland Geddes, 
who subordinated himself and his position entirely to the work 
in hand. Its only serious mistake was made during the dis- 
cussion on the question of submarines when, in its zeal to 
score a point against the obstinate French demand for the 
retention of submarines, it cited inaccurately some articles that 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 375 

had been written, from a purely technical standpoint, by a 
French naval expert, Captain Castex. In those articles, Cap- 
tain Castex reminded a certain school of French naval officers 
that the methods of torpedo-boat warfare which they had once 
advocated, debarred them from complaining of German sub- 
marine methods. German methods, Captain Castex argued, 
had been no worse than those which sundry French naval 
writers had recommended, so eager had they been to prove 
the value of small craft in naval warfare. From the stand- 
point of strict warfare, German methods might be justified. 
But the German error, like that of French advocates of small 
craft, had been to forget that preponderance in large craft, or 
capital ships, could alone guarantee success at sea. 

Instead of using these articles as what they really were, a 
trenchant criticism of the value of submarines and therefore 
as a reinforcement of the British thesis at the Washington 
Conference, some members of the British delegation seized 
upon Captain Castex’s technical condonation of German sub- 
marine methods as proof of the spirit animating French naval 
men, if not the French delegation. The French delegates 
presently put matters in a truer light, but not before con* 
siderable harm had been done. This incident was the only 
serious blemish upon the otherwise splendid record of the 
British delegation at Washington. 

The record of the French delegation, on the other hand, 
left much to be desired. Before leaving for Washington in 
October, I had seen in Paris the principal French delegates 
and also the President of the Republic, M. Millerand. To 
all of them I had explained the policy which Great Britain 
would be bound to follow at Washington. I had also suggested 
that, if France and England could work hand in hand and 
whole-heartedly in support of the American initiative, the 
success of the Conference would be assured, and that this 
proof of concord between the leading European Allies would 
be likely so to revive American interest in the affairs of Europe 
that the whole problem of Reparations and of European re- 
construction would be greatly simplified. All the Frenchmen 
whom I saw professed hearty agreement with this view. But, 



376 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


before the French delegation reached Washington, some sin* 
ister influence seems to have affected the judgment of the 
principal French delegates and to have convinced them that 
the Washington Conference would be essentially an American 
attack upon British naval supremacy which the British delega- 
tion would vigorously resist; and that, in the ensuing con-, 
troversy, France would be in the position of tertirn gaudens . 
In Washington the French delegation was certainly influenced 
for a time by a foolish notion of this kind; and it perceived 
its error too late to repair it. Questions of personal vanity 
also envenomed a position which, had it not been miscon- 
ceived from the outset, might have been made the opening 
of a new and better chapter in the affairs of Europe and of 
the world. 


THE CANNES CONFERENCE 

When the French Prime Minister, M. Briand, left Wash- 
ington early in December, he understood that some effort was 
needed to improve Anglo-French relations. Soon after reach- 
ing Paris he went to London and made a tentative agreement 
with Mr. Lloyd George for the holding of an inter-Allied 
Conference at Cannes inf January, 1922, as a preliminary to the 
convocation, soon afterwards, of a great political and economic 
International Conference to which the Germans and the Rus- 
sian Bolshevists should be invited. The idea of holding this 
Conference seems to have arisen when the British and French 
Governments learned that there could be no question of enlarg- 
ing the Washington Conference so as to make it cover European 
economic questions. Through a Belgian channel, a suggestion 
that the Washington Conference should thus be enlarged, was 
conveyed to Washington towards the middle of December. So 
coldly had the suggestion been received that it was at once 
abandoned and the project of holding a European Economic 
Conference was substituted for it. Mr. Lloyd George under- 
stood that France would be unlikely to assent to his policy 
towards Germany and Russia unless French security were first 
safeguarded; and, as an inducement to M. Briand, he offered 
France a British pact guaranteeing French security for ten 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


377 


years in place of the British and American undertakinp given 
during the Paris Peace Conference. The American under- 
taking had been invalidated when the United States failed to 
ratify the Versailles Treaty; and, instead of upholding the 
guarantee on its own account, the British Government had 
taken a strictly legal view of the provision which made the 
undertaking an interdependent Anglo-American, not an in- 
dividually British obligation. The British Government had 
thus seemed to construe, in niggardly fashion, its position in 
regard to France and to ignore both the fact that England was 
more directly interested than the United States in preserving 
French security, and the circumstance that, in return for the 
British and American undertakinp, France had modified her 
policy on the left bank of the Rhine. By abandoning the un- 
dertaking, Great Britain had, moreover, lost power to exercise a 
moderating influence upon French policy towards Germany. At 
the end of 1921, Mr. Lloyd George realized, to some extent, 
the consequences of this abandonment. For this and for an- 
other reason he proposed to give France a British undertaking 
for ten years against any unprovoked German attack upon 
French soil. 


A MISHAP 

The Cannes Conference was convoked for the beginning of 
January, 1922. Information reached Washington that a 
thoroughgoing agreement between France and England was 
in sight; and, since there seemed reason to hope that such 
an agreement would influence favourably the attitude of the 
French delegation at Washington and thus promote the com- 
plete success of the Washington Conference, which was draw- 
ing to a close, the political centre of gravity appeared once 
more to lie in Europe. Therefore, I sailed for home on 
December 31, 1921. During the voyage a wireless message 
from The Times suggested, however, that it might be more 
important to go straight to Cannes than to return at once to 
London. So from Cherbourg I went to Cannes where, on the 
evening of my arrival, I met Mr. Harvey, the American Am- 
bassador to London, who was attending the Cannes Conference 



378 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


as American observer. Lord Curzon happened to be dining 
with him that night and was standing a few paces away. Mr. 
Harvey, eager to hear “ all about Washington,” asked me to 
drive with him and Mr. Richard Crane (lately American 
Minister at Prague) to Nice next morning where he suggested 
we might play a round of golf. We had hardly started in 
Mr. Crane’s open car when, at a crossroads, a heavy closed car 
crashed into us. Though both cars had been going slowly, 
the violence of the impact threw Mr. Harvey and me high 
into the air. We fell on to the footpath some yards away. 
It appeared that the delinquent car was driven by a shell- 
shocked French chauffeur who, at the critical moment, had 
applied the accelerator pedal instead of the foot-brake; and 
that the car, which had been hired for the British delegation, 
was descending from Mr. Lloyd George’s villa. Mr. Harvey 
and I were picked up badly shaken, taken back to the hotel 
and put to bed. 

On learning of the mishap, the British and French Prime 
Ministers visited Mr. Harvey when, according to a trust- 
worthy witness, some humorous banter was exchanged. 

“ Well, Mr. Ambassador,” said Mr. Lloyd George, “ I am 
very grieved about this accident; but you see what comes of 
keeping bad company.” 

“ My dear Prime Minister,” answered Mr. Harvey, “ I can- 
not admit that my company or that of Mr. Richard Crane is 
bad enough to do any harm to Steed. Besides,” he added 
teasingly, “ there is enough circumstantial evidence to have 
you and Lord Curzon hanged.” 

“ How do you make that out? ” asked Mr. Lloyd George. 

“ Well,” answered Mr. Harvey, “ Lord Curzon was within 
hearing last night when I arranged with Steed to start at 
9:30 this morning. We started punctually. We had hardly 
left this town when a car from your villa hit us. It was 
driven by a shell-shocked driver, so that there might be no 
moral responsibility; and it was empty, so that there might 
be no witnesses of the crime. What more evidence do you 
want? ” 

Mr. Lloyd George laughed heartily and said he was glad 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


379 


to find that the shock had not spoiled the Ambassador’s wit. 
Afterwards, Sir Edward Grigg brought me an expression of the 
Prime Minister’s regret. 

There was one flaw in Mr. Harvey’s “ circumstantial evi- 
dence.” The car that smashed us was not empty. Some two 
years later, at No. 10 Downing Street, an officekeeper said to 
hie, “ I never see you, sir, without thinking of the Cannes 
Conference. I was in the car that nearly killed you and Mr. 
Harvey. I had been riding in front but, as it was chilly, I 
took a seat inside the car. I picked up a bit of the broken 
axle of your car and have it as a keepsake at home.” 

Unluckily, the Cannes Conference failed. It adopted, in- 
deed, sundry resolutions as the basis of the proposed Inter- 
national Economic Conference at Genoa; but, before the Anglo- 
French Treaty of Guarantee could be fully considered, French 
political intrigues against M. Briand compelled him to return 
to Paris and to resign office. Thus France lost the chance 
of securing a British guarantee in substitution for that promised 
during the Paris Peace Conference. Though, in its draft form, 
the Cannes pact may not have been acceptable to her, it might 
have been amended, had M. Briand not been overthrown. His 
successor, M. Poincare, sought, indeed, to widen it and to make 
it reciprocal; but his attitude, and that of the French Na- 
tionalist opinion which he represented, were not conducive to 
agreement. Nevertheless, the Cannes Conference produced one 
document of permanent interest. In reply to a memorandum 
from the Italian Delegation which had objected to the pro- 
posed Anglo-French pact, Mr. Lloyd George addressed to the 
Italian Delegation on January 11, 1922, a memorandum ex- 
plaining that the Treaty 

about to be concluded between Great Britain and France is not 
designed in any way to exclude Italy from the councils of the Great 
Allies or to weaken the close understanding which subsists between 
them. 

It added: 

Great Britain’s special interest in the security of France’s eastern 
frontiers against German attack has been revealed to all peoples in 



380 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


the fierce light of war. Germany’s invading armies in 1914 swept 
close to the Channel Ports and were finally held along a line in France 
and Flanders nearer than any part of the Continent to the English 
coast. The sound of German guns was heard in England daily for 
four years. England knows that, were Germany, in some future 
struggle, to succeed in planting her artillery upon the coast of 
France, London itself would be within the range of German shells. 
Not only Britain, but all the Dominions of the British Empire, gav6 
unreservedly of their manhood and their wealth to overwhelm the 
common enemy, side by side with the French armies. The fields of 
France now cover many hundreds of thousands of British dead. The 
'whole of the British Empire is represented amongst those graves. 
Britain, therefore, has an interest not less than that of France in 
ensuring that the sacrifices of the French and British peoples shall 
not have been made in vain. 

In conclusion, this British memorandum stated that it was 
on these grounds that Great Britain had signed, together with 
the representatives of the United States, on June 28, 1919, 
a Treaty agreeing to come immediately to the assistance of 
France in the event of any unprovoked movement of aggression 
being made against her by Germany ; and it added that, though 
that Treaty had hitherto been a dead letter, 

the understanding which it contained influenced French policy in 
certain important respects during the negotiation of the Treaty of 
Versailles, and Great Britain therefore considers herself bound in 
honour to renew the pledge. 


THE GENOA CONFERENCE 

Among the motives for the movement in Paris against M. 
Briand, had been a suspicion that the International Economic 
Conference at Genoa, to which he had assented, would be 
used to coerce France into sanctioning a vague policy of 
“ European reconstruction ” before Germany had seriously 
attempted to pay reparations. Another motive was a belief 
that Mr. Lloyd George intended to use the programme for 
the Genoa Conference as his platform in a General Election 
which would be held in Great Britain before the Conference 
should meet. In this way, it was thought, the British Prime 
Minister would manage to go to Genoa with a mandate from 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


381 


the British electorate, much as he had gone to the Paris Peace 
Conference after the General Election of December, 1918 — 
though with the difference that his mandate on that occasion 
had been to “ make Germany pay ” whereas his mandate at 
Genoa would be “ to let Germany off ” and to make an agree- 
ment with the Russian Bolshevists. These suspicions were not 
entirely groundless. No sooner had the Cannes Conference 
decided, early in January, 1922, to convene the Genoa Con- 
ference for the beginning of March, than statements were 
issued by the Prime Minister’s secretariate in London that a 
dissolution of Parliament was impending and that a General 
Election would take place in Great Britain before the end of 
February. But these statements aroused the opposition of 
Sir George Younger, the chief organizer of the Conservative 
Party, who flatly declined to sanction a plan of which the 
effect might have been to give a further lease of life to the 
Conservative-Liberal Coalition of which Mr. Lloyd George was 
the head. Sir George Younger knew that the rank and file 
of his Party were becoming very dissatisfied with the Coalition 
and with Mr. Lloyd George’s leadership. In consequence of 
his opposition, the idea of holding a General Election before 
the Genoa Conference had to be disavowed and abandoned. 

Nevertheless, Mr. Lloyd George did not lose hope of making 
the results of the Genoa Conference an election platform for 
the future. He seems to have believed that an agreement 
with the Germans and the Bolshevists at Genoa would enable 
him to appeal so strongly to the Labour, and to some sections 
Qf the Liberal, electorate as to make him practically inde- 
pendent of Conservative support should the Conservatives 
revolt against him. His views were clearly foreshadowed in 
his semi-official organs. They carried on a violent campaign 
against the French Prime Minister, M. PoincarS, whom they 
compared with Nero, and they demanded at once a drastic 
reduction of the German Reparations Debt and the recognition 
of the Russian Bolshevists. In these circumstances, M. Poin- 
care decided not to attend the Genoa Conference but to send 
instead his colleague, M. Barthou, who had been instrumental 
in overthrowing M. Briand. In France, moreover, Nationalist 



382 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

opinion was hardening in favour of the occupation of the Ruhr 
mining and industrial region of Germany — a project which 
had been mooted by the French two years earlier and had 
been opposed tenaciously by Mr. Lloyd George, though he had 
once assented to it in principle. Whenever French public men 
had spoken to me of the occupation of the Ruhr I had made 
no secret of my objections to it and had, again and again, 
warned them that it would involve France in serious difficulties 
and that, even should it ultimately lead to a Franco-German 
industrial agreement, its effect might well be to make France 
economically subject to Germany and to curtail French 
political independence. I had also criticized, privately and 
publicly, the French conception of the Reparations problem 
and had urged the expediency both of fixing the reparations 
debt at a definite, manageable total and of telling the French 
public frankly that the conceptions of German capacity to 
pay which had been current during the Paris Peace Confer- 
ence and afterwards were hopelessly exaggerated. After the 
Cannes Conference I had written strongly, in despatches to 
The Times , against the French tendency to take what I called 
“ a moneylender’s view of the obligations of debtors rather 
than the broader-minded and farther-sighted merchant’s view 
that holds the nursing of debtors back into something like 
financial health to be a condition of the eventual discharge of 
their engagements.” One of the weakest points in the Allied 
position I had felt to be the reluctance of French public men 
to recognize the technical impossibility of transferring large 
sums of gold, or the equivalent of gold, from one country 
to another, except in the form of services or goods which the 
Allied countries could not easily afford to accept. 

But equally reprehensible seemed to me the tendency of the 
British Government to play fast and loose with France. To 
agree with the French in public and to oppose them secretly 
was a policy bound to encourage the French Nationalists who 
were eager for " direct action ” against Germany in the Ruhr. 
When, therefore, the Genoa Conference was ultimately con- 
vened for the beginning of April, with a vague programme of 
peace and reconciliation throughout Europe and a precise pro- 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 


383 


gramme of agreement with the Germans and the Bolshevists, 
I was convinced that the Conference must fail and, in failing, 
render European confusion worse confounded. 

So strong was this conviction that I decided not to go to 
Genoa. But Northcliffe, whose health was rapidly failing, 
urged me, with the insistence of an invalid, to go; and at the 
last moment I assented against my better judgment. As no 
quarters were to be found, the Italian authorities kindly 
secured lodgings for me, together with some Italian officials, 
in a hotel where the bulk of the French delegation was 
quartered — a circumstance which afterwards exposed me to 
attacks in the House of Commons for having “ gone to live 
with the French.” 

The course of the Conference speedily justified my fears. 
Badly prepared, worse managed, and aiming at objects other 
than its ostensible purpose, it ended in discreditable collapse. 
Nothing save preparation even more careful than that which 
had preceded the meeting of the Washington Conference, and 
complete antecedent agreement between the major Allies, could 
have made it even moderately successful. Neither of these 
conditions was observed. It became an orgy of intrigue and 
counter-intrigue, of pressure and counter-pressure. An attempt 
on the part of the British Prime Minister to revive the methods 
of the Paris Peace Conference — by placing control in the 
hands of a small executive committee — having been defeated, 
he began to negotiate privately with the Bolshevist delegates at 
his villa. The Germans, who had already made a draft agree- 
ment with the Bolshevists, thereupon imagined that they were 
being tricked; and they concluded with the Bolshevists a 
Russo-German Treaty of Alliance behind the back of the Con- 
ference. As a punishment, the Germans were excluded from 
the main work of the Conference though the action of the 
Bolshevists was condoned. After some weeks of acrimonious 
chaos, the Belgian delegation insisted that, before any agree- 
ment could be made with the Bolshevists, they 1 should recognize 
the rights of foreign property-holders in Russia. The Belgian 
Government forbade its delegates to sign a European memoran- 
dum to the Bolshevists because this principle was not insisted 



384 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


upon; and, after some hesitation, the French Government sup- 
ported Belgium. Mr. Lloyd George retaliated by informing 
the French, directly and indirectly, that their support of the 
Belgian thesis had brought England and France to “ a parting 
of the ways." A strained situation thus arose, and a despatch 
to The Times in which I gave the substance of Mr. Lloyd 
George’s representations to the French, caused considerable 
stir in London. Mr. Lloyd George declared it to be totally 
unfounded, and M. Barthou, under British insistence, ended by 
denying its verbal precision. But, as the chief delegates at 
Genoa knew, and as documentary evidence in my possession 
shows, its substantial accuracy could not be challenged. 

The event soon proved the Prime Minister’s tactics to have 
been superfluous. Under orders from Moscow, the Bolshevists 
gave an entirely unacceptable reply to the European memoran- 
dum. Therefore, further negotiations with them were entrusted 
to a Conference of Experts at the Hague in June, which pres- 
ently failed; and the Genoa Conference went towards its in- 
evitable end. Some pious “ economic resolutions ’’ and a 
worthless “ Pact of Non- Aggression ” of a few months’ duration 
were the only achievements of the thirty-four nations whose 
representatives had attended it. It was, as it was bound to 
be, a great failure which sorely discredited the system of 
diplomacy by improvised conferences; and its failure marked 
the beginning of the end of the British Coalition Government 
which it had been intended to conserve and to strengthen. 

THE DEATH OF LORD NORTHCLIFFE 

Before resuming work in London I was summoned urgently 
to Paris by Northcliffe, who had just bought practically the 
whole of Mr. John Walter’s shares in The Times Publishing 
Company and had thus acquired, for the first time, complete 
control of The Times in his own right. I found him on the 
verge of collapse and accompanied him to Switzerland where 
Lady Northcliffe was awaiting him. His condition grew 
rapidly worse and, after securing facilities for his removal to 
London, I resumed my editorial duties. He died on August 



THE POWER OF “THE TIMES” 385 

14, 1922. Ten days before, I had received from him a final, 
pathetic message, “ Give me a full page in The Times and a 
leading article by the best available writer on the night” We 
gave him more than that. The Times owed and owes him last- 
ing gratitude, for he rescued it from decline and did much to 
vitalize it. 

# Those who imagined that Northcliffe’s illness and death 
would cause The Times to waver never understood the spirit 
animating its staff. Though we knew that his death must 
involve changes which might affect our personal fortunes, we 
worked, night and day, as one man for the good of the paper. 
Rarely can a team of journalists have shown greater devotion 
to their newspaper than the staff of The Times showed while 
its fate hung in the balance. In October, 1922, it was sold to 
Major the Honourable John Jacob Astor, M.P., with whom 
Mr. John Walter was associated; and, soon after the General 
Election of November 15, 1922, my active connection with it 
came to an end. The editorship was resumed by my friend 
and predecessor, Mr. Geoffrey Dawson. I had the satisfaction 
of knowing that he would find its power undiminished and 
its influence upon public affairs as great as ever. During the 
autumn of 1922, it had been instrumental in preventing both a 
breach with France and war with Turkey in connection with 
the “ Chanak crisis and in persuading Mr. Bonar Law that 
it was his duty to overthrow the discredited Coalition and to 
restore Party Government. Though I speak without knowledge 
of all the circumstances, I have some reason to think that Mr. 
Bonar Law might not have been willing to become Prime 
Minister and to face the General Election of November, 1922, 
had he not known that he could reckon fully upon the support 
of The Times . Before he went to the famous Carlton Club 
meeting which brought down the Coalition Government, I 
predicted to him that an appeal to the country would give him 
a following of some three hundred and fifty Conservative 
members of Parliament — an estimate much higher than the 
official estimate of the Conservative Party organizers. The 
election actually gave him three hundred and forty -three, with 
a clear majority of nearly eighty. 



386 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


Thus I left The Times , feeling that, thanks to the devotc l 
work of my colleagues, it was again on the top of the wave. 
Though I no longer wielded journalistic influence, Mr. Bonar 
Law consulted me about the funding of the British War Debt 
to the United States and upon the best means of explaining 
to the French the real significance of the Reparations Settle- 
ment which he had proposed to them in January, 1923, but 
which they had, very short-sightedly, rejected. These matters 
belong, however, to the history of the Reparations controversy 
rather than to a personal narrative which, for the present, 
ceases with the end of my more than twenty-six years’ service 
of The Times. That great journal, and the men who have 
made and make it, will ever have a firm hold on my affection 
and gratitude. To it and to them I owe whatever I may have 
been able to do for the public good, and whatever insight I 
may have gained into the affairs of nations during a period 
filled by the prologue to a great historical drama and by the 
drama itself. If my minor chronicle should serve to render 
some scenes and phases of that drama more comprehensible to 
those who witnessed them, or to those who may wish to under- 
stand them in retrospect, my purpose will have been fulfilled. 



CHAPTER XX 


CONCLUSION 

S OME thirty years ago I listened in Paris to a public dis- 
cussion on the philosophy of history. The speakers were 
two leading French Socialists, Jean Jaures, the great orator, 
and Paul Lafargue, a son-in-law of Karl Marx. With poetical 
passion, Jaures contended that historical changes are mainly 
the result of spiritual influences which, in various ways and 
in different degrees, inspire men to struggle for a realization 
of their ideals. Lafargue replied by insisting upon the mate- 
rialistic view of history which Marx propounded, and by 
claiming that idealism or religion had merely been a cloak 
for the realities of economic strife. In a phrase which I have 
quoted elsewhere, he boasted that “ Marx turned God out of 
History.” 

Some years later, when the absence of idealism in his own 
life had made him feel that it was no longer worth living, 
Lafargue and his wife committed suicide. Jaures remained 
a leader of French social thought until he fell to the bullet 
of a reactionary fanatic on the eve of the war. Once a passage 
from his writings was even read by a French bishop in a 
Lenten sermon at Lyons. When devout ladies afterwards 
wished to know the name of the divine whose words had edi- 
fied them, the Bishop asked them to guess it. Their guesses 
ranged from Chrysostom to Father Didon. At last, the 
Bishop whispered into their scandalized ears the name of the 
“ Reverend Father ” Jaures. 

I have often pondered over the two views of history held by 
Jaures and Lafargue. Though neither of them is exhaustive, 
and though the truth may well lie somewhere between the 
two, I think that the idealist view lies nearer than the mate- 
rialist to the heart of things. “ To turn God out of History ” 

387 



388 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

is a formidable business. However, potent may be economic 
pressure, over-population, famine, pestilence, or climate, their 
influence seems to me to have been weaker at many critical 
epochs in the history of civilized humanity than that of the 
ideals which men and nations have cherished. Nor has re- 
flection upon the War of 1914 and its causes altered my be- 
lief. It is still too early to judge whether the war marked a 
definite turn for the better in the fortunes of mankind or 
whether further disasters will be needed to convince the pres- 
ent or a future generation that national and international ways 
of life must be changed unless civilization itself is to perish. 
That grave issue still hangs in the balance. Some, indeed, ask 
whether the war was “ worth while.” To us who knew the 
world before the war, that question seems beside the point. 
Is freedom, moral and political, “ worth while ”? In thinking 
of the war and its sequel we are, besides, too apt to remem- 
ber its vicissitudes, the havoc it wrought, and the wrangling 
that followed it rather than the profound and, on the whole, 
beneficent changes which it brought about. It swept away 
three powerful Imperial systems — the German, the Austro- 
Hungarian, and the Russian. It overthrew polities founded 
upon mediaeval conceptions and it carried forward the work 
of European liberation which the French Revolution and 
Napoleon began. As the military exponent of the French 
Revolution, Napoleon not only destroyed what remained of 
the Holy Roman Empire “ of German nation,” but he infused 
the spirit of nationality into a dozen submerged races. The 
Holy Alliance strove to undo this work, and undid it in part; 
but it could not stifle permanently the German or the Italian 
aspirations towards freedom and unity. Those aspirations led 
the Italians to Rome in 1870. In a Bismarckian perversion, 
they also led the German Princes to Versailles in 1871. The 
enthronement of the Hohenzollerns as hereditary German Em- 
perors implied, however, the strengthening in Germany of the 
medisevalism against which the liberal partisans of German 
unity had long contended; and the German people were pres- 
ently corrupted by the material prosperity which the Hohen- 
zollern Empire fostered. Moreover, the League of the Three 



CONCLUSION 


389 


Emperors, like the Triple Alliance that replaced it, put the 
interests of dynasties once more above the welfare of peoples. 
This modern medievalism, strengthened by the support of 
science and by that of vast business organizations, was bound 
to expand and dominate or to perish in the attempt. It could 
not live as an equal among equals. The German watchword 
“ World Mastery or Downfall ” tersely stated the alternatives 
confronting it. Eager to extend their sway, politically and 
economically, to impose their Kultur upon larger and larger 
sections of the human race, the Germans of the Hohenzollern 
Empire conceived their own political system and ways of 
life as intrinsically superior to all others. German philosophy 
from Hegel to Nietzsche — without forgetting Marx, who 
dreamed of the world-dictatorship of a proletariat inspired 
by German-Jewish ideas — had built up this conception. The 
rest of the world had to choose between submission and re- 
sistance to it. 

* # * « 


That was the plainest issue in August, 1914. But other 
issues were linked with it. Among them, none was greater 
than that of the future of the non-Germanic and non-Magyar 
peoples of Central Europe. For them, the question was 
whether they should be permanently enslaved by a pan-Ger- 
man Empire, stretching from Belgium across Central and 
Southeastern Europe far into Asia and Africa, or whether 
they should burst their bonds and gain freedom once more 
to share, as independent nations, in European development. 
The importance of this issue was tardily perceived by the 
Western Allies. Indeed, as long as the Russian Empire stood, 
they could not face it frankly in its bearing upon Poland and 
the border races of Russia. Yet upon it hung the fortunes of 
the war. Practically, this issue resolved itself into the ques- 
tion whether Allied policy should seek to preserve Austria- 
Hungary or whether it should deliberately aim at the libera- 
tion of the subject Hapsburg races, without prejudice to their 
eventual regrouping in some more elastic form of Central 
European organization. 



390 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

As I have explained, my own mind was made up on this 
point as early as 1909 when the High Treason trial at Agram 
and the Friedjung trial in Vienna showed that the Hapsburg 
Monarchy had lost whatever inner virtue it may once have 
possessed. The course of the Bosnian annexation crisis had 
already proved it to be bound, hand and foot, to Germany. 
Masaryk, who knew Austria-Hungary far better than I, 
reached the same conclusion about the same time, though he 
only told me of it during the war. To him more than to any 
man belongs the credit for having brought the Allied Gov- 
ernments in Europe, and the Government of the United States, 
to some understanding of this crucial truth ; though not until 
the eleventh hour, under pressure of the German offensive in 
March, 1918, did their comprehension of it triumph over ad- 
verse influences. 

« « » » 

Of those influences I am persuaded that the power of in- 
ternational Jewry was the strongest. International Clerical- 
ism, proceeding from the — to my mind — mistaken view of 
the interests of the Roman Church which has prevailed in the 
Vatican and among the Jesuits since the Counter-Reforma- 
tion of the 16th and 17th centuries, certainly worked to save 
the Hapsburgs and, with them, the pan-German cause, as did 
the snobbishness and dull Conservatism of small aristocratic 
cliques in Allied countries. Yet Jewish influence was more 
persistent and more efficient. Had it been united, and could 
it have been coherently directed, it might well have prevailed; 
but, in point of fact, Jewish idealism served, in part, to coun- 
teract the work of Jewish finance and of Jewish cosmopolitan 
agencies. This Jewish idealism was of two kinds. Though, in 
one of its forms, it strengthened for a time the pro-German 
and pan-German tendencies of Jewish finance by bringing 
Jewish hatred of Imperial Russia into line with Jewish attach- 
ment to Germanism, its support of Germanism slackened when 
the Russian Empire fell. Those who hold that Jewry is al- 
ways guided by material considerations are apt to be wofully 
wrong. The gulf that severed Western Europe from Russia 



CONCLUSION 


391 


during the latter half of the 19th century was dug and kept 
open chiefly by Jewish resentment of Russian persecution of 
the Jews. Yet that resentment sprang also from Jewish de- 
testation of the Russian Holy Synod and of the Russian 
Orthodox Church as survivals of mediaeval Christianity and 
as promoters of a crusade for the possession of “ Tsarigrad ” 
(Constantinople) and of the Holy Places. Against Russian 
Christian fanaticism was ranged an intense Jewish fanaticism 
hardly to be paralleled save among the more militant sects of 
Islam. This Jewish fanaticism allied itself with the anti- 
Russian forces before and during the earlier years of the war. 
It abated only when the Russian Revolution of March 1917 
and the subsequent advent of Bolshevism, largely Jewish in 
doctrine and in personnel, overthrew the Russian Empire and 
the Russian Orthodox Church. The joy of Jewry at these 
events was not merely the joy of triumph over an oppressor 
but was also gladness at the downfall of hostile religious and 
semi-religious institutions — a joy, moreover, in which the 
Vatican shared, as its attitude towards the Bolshevist dele- 
gates to the Genoa Conference of April, 1922, significantly 
indicated. 

* * * * 


When international Jewish sentiment had thus ceased to be 
actively pro-German, another form of Jewish idealism came 
more effectively into play. The Zionist, or Jewish National, 
movement which was started by the late Dr. Theodore Herzl 
in the last decade of the 19th century, had fired the imagina- 
tions of millions of the younger and poorer Jews throughout 
the world. Frowned upon and discouraged by the* wealthier 
“ assimilationist ” and “ semi-assimilationist ” Jews in vari- 
ous countries, it had, nevertheless, kindled in the Jewish masses 
a spirit akin to that of the Maccabeans and had acted upon 
them as a regenerating force. Towards the end of 1916, mainly 
through the instrumentality of the late Sir Mark Sykes, then 
an Under-Secretary to the British War Cabinet, and of Mr. 
James A. Malcolm, a prominent British Armenian, the Zion- 
ist organizations in Europe and the United States began to 



392 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

identify themselves with the Allied cause. Mr. Malcolm 
rightly urged that the Jews were less pro-German than anti- 
Russian and that their national aspirations were not inimical 
to the Allied cause. As a result of discussions with Zionist 
leaders in England, especially Dr. Weizmann, Mr. Sokolow, 
and Dr. Greenberg, communications were established with . 
prominent American Zionists who used their influence in favour 
of American participation in the war. The German Govern- 
ment had, at various times, approached the Zionists, but had 
finally estranged them by insisting that German rather than 
Hebrew should be the recognized Jewish language. Several 
members of the British Government were, on the contrary, 
fr ankl y in sympathy with Zionism; and, in November, 1917, 
the Foreign Secretary, Mr. Balfour, made an official declara- 
tion in favour of the establishment of a Jewish National Home 
in Palestine. Not only did this declaration increase the interest 
of American Jewry in the war, but it tended to neutralize the 
influence in Russia of the pro-German Jewish Socialists who 
were working with the Bolshevists. The efforts subsequently 
made to establish a Jewish National Home in Palestine and 
the difficulties inherent both in the nature of things and in 
some aspects of the Jewish character, belong rather to the 
history of the Zionist movement than to the consideration of 
the broad factors that operated in favour of an Allied victory; 
but it is incontestable that Zionism played a part in the defeat 
of the pan-Germanism with which so many Jewish financiers 
and business interests had been identified. General Luden- 
dorff is alleged to have said, after the war, that “ the Balfour 
Declaration was the cleverest thing done by the Allies in the 
way of propaganda,” and that he wished Germany had thought 
of it first. This is a truly German view. The Balfour 
Declaration was not intended merely as propaganda. It ex- 
pressed the sincere intention of the British Government. It 
proceeded from recognition of the fact that the soundest and 
healthiest element in modern Jewry is the spirit which prompts 
Jews to be proud of their race and to seek, as Jews, openings 
for their great gifts, rather than as what some Zionists call 



CONCLUSION 393 

“ one hundred and five per cent.” Englishmen, Frenchmen, 
Germans, or Americans. 

The future of Jewry cannot be foreseen. Since the war, 
anti-Semitism has revived in many countries. Jewish specula- 
tion in the debased currencies of Europe has accentuated 
hostility towards Jews in general; and Jewish association with 
Bolshevism has not tended to decrease it. Should the Russian 
peasantry throw off the “ dictatorship of the proletariat ” set 
up by Lenin and Trotsky in the name of their prophet Marx, 
the world may witness massacres beside which the pogroms 
of Tsardom would pale into insignificance. Then again a great 
gulf might yawn between the Western world and Russia — 
a gulf even harder to bridge than that over which the Franco- 
Russian Alliance was built at the end of last century. “ Anti- 
Semitism ” is no cure for the evils which the presence of a 
disproportionate number of Jews usually bring upon non- 
Jewish communities. The cure, if cure there be, can only lie 
in the patient and sympathetic study of Jewry by non- Jews, 
and in the leadership of Jewry itself by Jews intelligent and 
courageous enough to perceive the limitations of the Jewish 
genius and to take them into account in framing Jewish policy. 

* * * * 

Like many another problem, in appearance insoluble, the 
Jewish question may ultimately be affected by the greatest 
result of the war — the establishment of the League of Nations. 
Without the inspiration of the ideal which the League of 
Nations represents — albeit imperfectly, as yet — I doubt 
whether the Allied and Associated peoples could have won the 
war. The League embodies the aspirations of the better part 
of mankind towards a settlement of international disputes 
otherwise than by arms. Its aim is to subject the use of 
force in the affairs of nations to rules and restrictions like 
those which, in civilized communities, govern the treatment 
of wrong-doers. Wittingly or unwittingly, its establishment 
was a step towards the federalization of peoples; though, like 
most steps in human progress, it was inspired by a negative 



394 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


rather than by a positive purpose — the avoidance of recog- 
nized evil rather than the achievement of an ideal good. 
Whether or not President Wilson was wise to insist on putting 
the amended Covenant of the League into the Treaty of 
Versailles, and on making the League the warden and mod- 
erator of the Treaty, is now mainly an academic question. 
Both the Treaty and the League are in being. The one may 
be progressively improved by consent through the agency of 
the other; but neither the one nor the other can be upset, or 
be drastically revised from without, unless the chief fruit of 
the war is to wither and a disappointed humanity is to fall 
into a chaos compared with which the qualified mediaevalism of 
the 19th century would seem to have been a Golden Age. 

Yet, if the League of Nations is to fulfill its purpose, it will 
need to be completed by the association with it of the great 
peoples who either hold aloof from it or are excluded from 
membership. Of these peoples — the Americans, the Germans, 
and the Russians — the Germans hold the clearest position. 
They can, if they wish, qualify for admission to the League by 
shouldering manfully the consequences of defeat in a war 
for which the German Imperial Government was chiefly 
responsible and in which the German peoples were not un- 
willing accomplices. A generation may pass before the Ger- 
mans are able to view the war in perspective and to recover 
from the moral effects of the isolation it entailed; and even 
a generation may not suffice unless there arise in Germany new 
leaders and teachers endowed with vision to see the truth and 
with courage to tell it to their own people. The admission of 
Germany to the League of Nations might hasten this process. 
The Allied peoples and Governments might also accelerate it 
by friendly treatment of Germany when her recognition of her 
past errors has clearly hardened into a resolve to eschew them 
in future. But it is essential that the renewal of friendly 
intercourse with Germany should not involve, on the part of 
Allied peoples and governments, any retrospective weakening 
of their grip upon the principles and ideals in whose name they 
fought and won the war. 



CONCLUSION 395 

President Wilson’s phrase that the object of the war was 
to make the world “ safe for democracy ” has been much de- 
rided. Nevertheless, it expresses a fundamental truth which 
only needs accurate definition to become axiomatic. His- 
torically, “ democracy ” is a negative concept. It implied the 
imposition of restrictions upon absolute or arbitrary rule. It 
'was the negation of the doctrine of Divine Right. Its purpose 
was to protect communities and their individual members 
against the dangers inherent in government by monarchs or 
oligarchies. But it remains to be proved that the transforma- 
tion of this original, negative conception of democracy into a 
positive doctrine that, the wider the “ bounds of freedom ” are 
drawn, the safer and the healthier a community will be, is a 
sane and sound development. The battle between the repre- 
sentative system in democracy and the tendencies which aim 
at “ direct ” government “ by the people,” has yet to be fought 
out; and, before it is won, the principles of individual liberty 
may need to be stated afresh. Here, again, issue is joined 
between negative and positive concepts. Broadly speaking, 
liberal principles imply the removal of as many restrictions 
upon the freedom of individuals as the welfare of the “ greater 
number ” may permit. They are incompatible with the more 
modern tendencies which would establish the tyranny of or- 
ganized masses, or of armed “ popular ” dictatorships over 
individual citizens, no matter whether those tendencies take the 
form of “ Bolshevism ” or of “ Fascism.” The world cannot 
be “ safe for democracy ” until these tendencies have been 
vanquished or placed under restraint for the general good. 

Hence, it is impossible to speak with confidence of the future 
of Russia or of her progress towards membership of the League 
of Nations. She may have to pass through more than one 
bloody ordeal before her peoples find the path of ordered free- 
dom. In the long run, she may, indeed, prove to have rendered, 
inadvertently, a service to civilization by becoming an experi- 
mental ground for the devastating theories of Karl Marx. 
Meanwhile, those Western countries in which Bolshevist doc- 
trines have, in part, perverted the ethical elements in the 
Socialist and Labour movements; and those where, as in Italy, 



396 THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 

Bolshevism has acted as an irritant productive of Nationalist 
and semi-military reactions, may find it no easy task to 
eliminate the poison from their social systems. This cannot 
be done merely by unintelligent denunciations of Bolshevism 
or by the establishment of counter-tyrannies. It must be done 
by thinkers and political leaders capable of restating and of 
inculcating upon the people the doctrine of the duties and* 
the rights of individuals in the form of a new Liberalism that 
shall take full account of economic and scientific progress. 

* * « * 


This restatement of democratic doctrine is most likely to 
come from Europe. Wide as is the field for democratic essay 
in the United States, one important element seems to be lack- 
ing in the political life of the American people — the element 
of risk. The United States has not lived under any tangible 
menace to its security — a great advantage which has also 
entailed drawbacks. In Europe, the sense of risk lends reality 
to questions which might otherwise be academic. But while 
the American people are averse from participation in the 
politics of Europe and in the risks which those politics involve, 
European efforts to consolidate the moral and political gains 
of the war, which America helped to win, will appeal power- 
fully to American idealism. If the United States is ever to 
renew its “association” with Europe, the European peoples 
may need to revise their views of American intervention in 
the war. The wonder is not that the American nation — 
separated from Europe by more than three thousand miles of 
sea and, as regards some of its regions, by another three thou- 
sand miles of land — should have withdrawn from a Peace 
Settlement which it did not and could not understand, but 
rather that it should have come into the war at all. In many 
ways, the revulsion of feeling that caused the United States 
to reject the Treaty of Versailles and td cut adrift from Europe 
after the war was more natural, in view of the physical detach- 
ment of the United States from Europe, than American par- 
ticipation in the war. To treat this physical detachment as a 



CONCLUSION 


397 


negligible factor and to imagine that the American people as 
a whole — among whom the influence of the dwellers in the 
Middle West and the West is increasingly powerful — will 
readily return to the position of 1917 and 1918, is to cherish 
a fond illusion. The truth is rather that the American people 
will be drawn towards Europe in proportion as the policies and 
•the conduct of European nations appeal at once to American 
idealism and seem to offer the United States some prospect of 
advantageous cooperation. Europeans ought never to forget 
that the United States has its own problems to solve; that 
within its immense territory, still largely unpeopled, it has 
wide scope for its energies; that the issues raised by the open- 
ing of the Panama Canal are turning its eyes southward; and 
that questions may arise in the Pacific which will deflect 
American attention from Europe and European troubles. Yet, 
as the Washington Conference showed, the Pacific Ocean may 
form a link between the United States and those European 
countries which have interests to safeguard in Pacific waters; 
and, as that Conference also showed, the power of hastening 
or retarding the association of the United States with Europe 
lies chiefly in the hands of Great Britain and France. 

• # * # 


They, too, hold the key to the European problem itself. 
It has grown worse with their estrangement and their attempts 
to pursue divergent courses. Critics of an Anglo-French 
Entente have consistently failed to suggest any sound alterna- 
tive policy for either country. A French attempt to dominate 
Europe single-handed, or with the sole support of the new 
Central European nations established by the Peace Treaties 
would, sooner or later, lead to another European upheaval in 
which the sympathies of the rest of the world might not support 
French policy. A British association with Germany against 
France would as inevitably bring on a conflict the very idea 
of which the British people abhor. Doubtless, the desire of 
the French people for security has inspired, directly and in- 
directly, many of the vagaries that have weaned British feel- 



398 


THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 


mg from France; while the insularity of British conceptions 
of Europe has dulled, in the British people, the sense which 
they acquired, tardily and temporarily, during the war that 
the security of France is as essentially a British interest as the 
security of Great Britain is an interest of France. The con- 
tingent truth that the security of Germany is a joint Franco- 
British interest has, however, been more fully perceived on 
the British than on the French side of the English Channel. 
German security can be peacefully safeguarded only under the 
auspices of the League of Nations when once Germany shall 
have accepted the new order in Europe; but the League of 
Nations itself cannot thrive unless France and Great Britain 
go hand in hand. Through it they can ensure the existence 
of the new nations which their common sacrifices helped to 
create. They can also establish solid ground upon which the 
United States may set its foot should it ever desire again 
to tread the path which President Wilson descried. And they 
can, if they will, bring Europe nearer to some form of federa- 
tion that would at once banish the danger of war and open 
new fields for ‘cooperation to her peoples. 

• * * • 

For this to be possible, England must be true to the tradi- 
tions she has — albeit with some lapses — upheld for centuries. 
She must not live for herself alone or imagine that her physical 
severance from the continent of Europe entitles her to cherish 
insular notions, however much those notions may be uni- 
versalized by solidarity between her and the self-governing 
Dominions of the British Empire. Her people need to 
strengthen their grasp upon the principle that their existence 
is bound up with the preservation of freedom. They need to 
understand that, while they have curtailed the rights of the 
Crown and have transformed its functions into those of an 
hereditary presidency over the nation and the Empire, other 
forms of arbitrary rule may be more dangerous and more 
insidious than those derived from the Divine Right of Kings. 
Some of these dangers are inherent in the growth of official- 



CONCLUSION 


399 , 

dom and in its deadening effect upon the sense of individual 
responsibility. Others lie in the perversion of Parliamentary 
Government into a system under which groups and cliques 
and interests control the executive. Others, again, proceed 
from the interpenetration of the official world and high finance, 
and from the deification of political economy as the source 
of all wisdom in public affairs. Yet others are involved in 
the efforts of class or trade organizations to impose their 
tyranny upon the public, careless of its welfare so long as their 
immediate points be gained. All these tendencies need to be 
watched, fought and curbed, if a healthy public spirit is to be 
preserved in England, and if she is to keep in the world the 
place she held of old. Her very detachment from the Con- 
tinent should help her to view its affairs serenely, while the 
spirit of compromise and the sense of practical reality which 
are joined, in her people, with an almost mystical faith in 
the virtue of trying to do what is right because it is right, 
may enable her still to set an unostentatious and beneficent 
example. 

« * * « 

The monk to whom Giovanni dalle Bande Nere made his 
soldierly confession, understood, with a truly Catholic in- 
telligence, that it was enough — and shrove him. He exercised 
not merely the charity that “ shall cover a multitude of sins ” 
but the charity born of comprehension that men - — and peoples 
— who live and work according to their talents, most nearly 
obey the injunction to strive after sincerity as the cardinal 
principle of life. Throughout these pages I have sought to be 
sincere; and, despite the frankness of many passages in my 
narrative, I trust that charitable readers will grant me some 
measure of absolution. I believe that, in the main, I saw 
rightly, spoke truly, and tried to do things worth doing. Not 
otherwise do I hope to speak and to act during as many of 
the next thirty years as may be allotted to me. 


THE END 




INDEX 


’Abdul Humid, I 63, 336 
Abyssinian affairs, I 104-7, 116-7 
Acciarito's attempt, I 107 
Adam, George, II 259 
Adelaide, Bishop of, I 8-9 
Adowa disaster, I 104 
Adriatic Declaration, Wilson’s, II 829- 
80, 881-6 

Adriatic problem, see 
Slavs, Southern 
Yugoslavs 

Italo- Yugoslav question 
Aehrentbal, Baron von, I 241-2, 246-52, 
265-7, 269-70, 277-8, 280, 300-4, 808- 
10, 812-3, 315-20, 328, 836, 838-9, 
844-7, 349, 354-5; II 134-5 
Aehrenthal and Isvosky, I 290-5, 833-5 
Aeroplanes cross sea, II 343-4 
African policy, Italy’s, I 116-7 
Agadir, I 341, 343-4 
Agram trial, I 806-7 
Albertini, Signor, II 203-4 
Alcock, Captain, II 348-4 
Alexander III, Tsar, I 93 
Alexander, King of Serbia, I 201 
Alexander, Prince Regent of Serbia, II 
166 

Alexandra, Queen, I 229-30, 231 
Algeciras Conference, I 234 
* ’Alien friends,” II 41 
Allenby, General, II 824 
Allied War Council, II 145 
«’AImeyreda”-Vigo, II 134 
Alsace and Lorraine, II 254 
Alsatian sentiment, I 355-6 
Alsatians, I 385 
Alsatians’ festival, I 44 
America and Europe, II 396-7 
America and the Allies, II 141-3 
America and the Anglo-Japanese Al- 
liance, II 869 

America and the Irish Question, II 841, 
848, 845, 362 

America in the War, II 396 
American architecture, II 872 
American idealism, II 162 
American intervention, II 161-2 


American “Non -conformists,” II 872 
’’American peace,” Danger of an, II 252 
American troops for Italy, II 240-1 
“Americanism,” Papal, I 140-4 

Americans “afraid not to flight,” II 161-2 
Americans and Englishmen, I 69 
Americans as “foreigners,” II 344 
Americans, Instructing, II 159-61 
Anarchist bomb, I 41 
Anarchists, French, I 53 
Andler, Charles, I 48 
Anglo-Austrian understanding, I 114 
Anglo-French relations, I 200-9, 280-1 ; 

II 14-5, 69-72, 870-7, 879-80, 882, 897 
Anglo-French relations in 1914, I 888-91 
Anglo-German relations, I 850 

Anglo-German relations in 1912, I 357 

Anglo-German rivalry, I 281 
Anglo-German World Trust, I 850 
Anglo-Irish Conference, II 301 
Anglo-Itali&n Alliance, I 112-4 
Anglo-Japanese Alliance, I 200 ; II 862-4, 
369-70, 373-4 

Anglophobia, Austro-Hungarian, I 820 
Anglophobia, German, I 67 
Anti-Semitism, I 82, 60-1; II 398 
Apponyi, Count, I 197-8, 220, 222 
Archaeology, Roman, I 178-82 
Architecture, American, II 372 
Arlington, Ceremony at, II 872 
Armenia mandate, II 299 
Armenians massacred, I 63 
Armistice Day in Paris, II 250-1 
Armistice terms, II 251-2 
Army, Need for a British, I 286-9 
Asquith, Mr., II 5, 7, 13, 15, 16, 322, 
340 

Astor, John Jacob, II 885 
“At the War,” II 117 
Auchincloss, Mr., II 294, 298-9, 308-6, 
307, 814-0 

August 1, 1914, n 10, 14 
Austria and Russia, I 333-75 
Austria and Serbia, I 201, 868-4 
Austria and Serbia, see also 
Slavs, Southern 
Yugoslavs 


401 



402 


INDEX 


Austria and the Council of Three, n 838 
Austria propaganda, II 187-91 
Austria, Quintessence of, 1 283-5 
Austria, tee alto 
Triple Alliance 

Austria-Hungary, 1902-06, I 191-236 
Austria-Hungary in 1918, I 866-8 
Austria-Hungary in 1914, I 898 
Austria-Hungary interpreted, I 870-2 
Austria-Hungary issue, II 889-90 
Austria-Hungary, Political disorders in, 
I 221 

Austria-Hungary, “Secret Political Trea- 
ties" of, II 65 

Austria-Hungary, Situation in, I 824-5 
Austria-Hungary, tee also 
Hapsburg 
Slavs, Southern 
Triple Alliance 
Yugoslavs 

Austrian affairs, I 828 
Austrian brutalities, II 142 
Austrian bureaucracy, I 829-80 
Austrian finance, I 846-7 
Austrian, intrigues, II, 152, 154-6, 203, 
211-2 

Austrian military expansion, I 858 
Austrian police, I 264-5 
Austrian rout in Serbia, II 60 
Austrian universal suffrage, I 261-2 
Austria's friends, II 129, 139-40 
Austria’s suicide, I 408, 407-8 
Austro- German treaty, I 94 
Austro-Italian problem, I 225-33, 242, 
246-8 

Austro-Russian crisis, I 295-802 
Automobile accident, II 878-9 
“Autonomous development,” II 218-4 
Auxiliary Royal Irish Constabulary, II 
850-1 

AvanH, I 170 

Avama, Duke, I 249, 251 ; II 60 
Avellane, Admiral, I 42 

Baden-Powell, General, I 821 
Badeni, I 262 
Badoglio, General, II 204-5 
Baghdad Railway, I 252 
Bagot, Richard, quoted, I 182 
Bahr, Hermann, I 407; II 99 
Baker, Granville, II 197-9, 202-8, 209 
Baker, Ray Stannard, II 211-8, 267, 281, 
289, 291, 817-8, 826, 886 
Balfour, Lord, I 5; II 181, 189-90, 212, 
218, 228-4, 227-8, 230-2, 238, 240, 
246, 268, 272, 275-6, 288, 370 4, 892 


Balkan League,' I 860-1 
Balkan policy, Allied, II 227-9 
Balkan problem, I 198-200; II 51-8 
Balkan problem, tee alto 
Slavs, Southern 
Yugoslavs 

Balkan War, first, I 861-2 
Balkan War; Second, I 865-6 
Ballin’s message, II 17-26 
Balloons for propaganda, II 225 
Banat, The, II 277 

Bande Nere, Giovanni dalle, I 1; II 399 
B&nffy, Baron, I 220 
Bank of England, II 8 
Barbarossa monument, I 79 
Bair&re, M., I 187 
Barrfcs, M., I 60 
Barthou, M., II 381, 384 
Bassermann, Herr, I 341 
Beatty, Admiral Lord, II 874 
Beaulieu, P. Leroy, see Leroy- Beaulieu, Pi 
Bebel, F. A., I 28-9 
Bedford, A. C., II 141 
Belgian neutrality, II 28 
Belgians at Genoa Conference, II 383-4 \ 
Belgium, Invasion of, I 286, 288-9 ; 

n 20, 86-7 

Belgium's violation decides England, II 
86-7 

Bell, Moberly, I 7-8, 77, 216, 271-8, 
275-6 

Bell, Montague, I 76 
Below, General von, II 163 
Benckendorff, Count, II 12, 44 
Benee, Dr., II 97-100, 129, 155, 209, 
213, 281-3, 247, 263, 275, 278-9 
B<?rard, V., I 48 

Berchthold, Count, I 355, 858, 861, 863 ; 
II 60 

Berlin and the Twenty-nine Churches, 
I 78 

Berlin City Fathers, I 77 
Berlin University, I 15-8 
Berliner Tageblatt, II 139 
Berthelot, Philippe, II 157 
Bertie, Lord, II 70, 202 
Besant, Sir Walter, I 5 
Bethmann-Hollweg, II 29-80 
Bieberstein, Baron von, I 69, 97-100 
Bieberstein answers Bismarck, I 92 
“Big Bertha,” II 201-3 
“Big Three,” tee Council of Three 
Bi-metallism, tee Silver question 
Birkenhead, Lord, II 857 
Bismarck, Prince, I 10-4, 115 
Bismarck and Caprivi, I 86, 90 



INDEX 


403 


Bismarck and the Kaiser, I 25 
Bismarck and the Triple Alliance, I 90 
Bismarck answers Rexchansteiger, I 92 
Bismarck, Career of, I 46 
Bismarck's Hamburg article, I, 86-92 
Bismarck's speech. Reporting, 1 10-2 
Bismarck's unscrupulous conduct, 1 93 
Bissolati, Signor, II 263 
“Black and Tans," II 850-2 
r “Black Pope," The, II 112-4, 115-6 
Blowita quoted, I 106 
Bliicher or Wellington, I 81 
Blum, Sir Julius, I 318, 370 
Boer War, I 153-7 
Bolshevism, II 192, 326, 391, 895-6 
Bolshevist negotiations, II 301-7 
Bolshevists at Genoa, II 881-4 
Bolshevists invited, II 270-1 
Boni, Giacomo, I 178-82 
Bonomelli, Mgr., I 170, 172 
Bonsall, Major, II 278 
Books of the 'Nineties, I 4-5 
Booth, Charles, I 6 
Booth, William, I 5 
Borchgrave, Baron de, I 218 
Borden, Sir Robert, II 828, 371 
Borgese, Professor, II 183, 209 
Bosnia- Herzegovina annexation, I 278-80, 
290-2, 800-1 

Bottomley, Horatio, II 822 
Bouillon, M. Franklin-, see Franklin- 
Bouillon, M. 

Boulanger, General, I 57 
Bourchier, J. D., I 360 
Bourgeois, L4on, II 281-2 
“Bourgeois Republic," I 39 
Bourlon Wood, II 141 
Bourne, Cardinal, II 240 
Boy Scouts, Message to, I 321 
Bradlaugh, Charles, I 5 
Bratianu, II 277 
Brenier, Henri, II 828 
Briand, M., II 79, 82, 138-9, 376, 379-80 
Brianza , I 167 
British Empire, II 135-6 
British Empire at war, II 31-8 
British War Mission, II 186 
Brockdorff-Rantzau, Count, II 335, 336 
Brodneid , I 82 
Brooke, Stopford, I 5 
Brown, Lieut. Whitten-, see Whitten- 
Brown, Lieut. 

Brunettere, F., I 61 
Bryan, W. J., I 64 
Bryan's defeat, I 74 
Bryce, Lord, II 46 


Buchanan, Mr., II 12 

Buckle, G. E., I 271, 2T5, 379; II 286 

Budapest, I 197 

BUlow, Count von, I 100, 187, 212, 
280-1, 800; II 56 

Bulgaria, Propaganda against, II 227-229 
Bulgaria routed, I 366 
Bulgaria, see also 
Slavs, Southern and 
Yugoslavs 

Bulgaria’s plight in 1913, I 873 
Bullitt mission, The, II 301-7 
Burdeau, M., I 54 
Bureaucracy, Austrian, I 329-80 
BuriAn, Baron, II 60-1 
Bums, John, II 16 
Burrows, Dr. Ronald, II 124, 129 
Byng, General, II 122, 370 

Cabrteres, Cardinal de, II 110, 137 
Cadorna, General, II 102, 105, 148-9 
Cahun, L4on, I 48, 360 
Caillaux, M., II 842-3, 345-0; II 188-4, 
157 

Caix, Robert de, II 81, 82, 323-6 
Cambon, Paul I, 107, 207, 399; II 18-0, 
32, 70-7, 138, 152, 274 
Cambrai, II 141 
Cambrai, Tanks at, II 124 
“Camels," I 77 
Campanile's fall, I 271 
Canada anti-Japanese, II 869 
Canada visited, II 369 
Canevaro, Admiral, I 160-1 
Canevaro interview, I 134-5 
Cannes Conference, II 876-7, 879 
Canon law, I 25 
Capitalism, Theory of, I 81 
Caporetto, II 119, 124, 141, 145-9, 153-4, 
168 

Caprivi, Count von, I 86 
Caprivi's policy, I 89 
Caraaso Effendi, E., I 375-6 
Carnot assassination, I 68 
Carol, Talk with King, I 848-9 
Carroll, Raymond, II 366, 868 
Carso, The, II 104 

Carson, Sir Edward, II 126, 181, 146-8, 
341, 347 

Cartwright, Sir F., I 317, 318, 828, 839 
Casimir-Perier, M„ I 41, 58-5, 57 
Casimir-Perier Government, I 48 
Casques pointus , I 42 
Castelnau, General de, II 79, 83 
Castex on submarines, II 875 
Catholic liberalism, I 255-61 



404 


INDEX 


Catholics and Protestants, I 175*5 
“Oatholicus” letters, I 257 
Oavallotti, I 104, 108 
Cavallotti killed, I 124*5 
Cavan, Lord, II 158, 205-7, 247 
Cecil, Lord Robert, II 231-2, 281-2, 288, 
296-7, 837 

Censorship, Eluding: the, I 126-7 
Chaix, Commandant, II 249 
Chamberlain visits Malta and Italy, I 
161-5 

Chanak crisis, II 385 
Charles Francis Joseph, Archduke, I 368, 
401-2 

Charles of Austria, II 152 

Charles of Austria and the Kaiser, II 188-9 

Ch^radame, Andr£, I 346 

Chiala, I 114 

Chichester at Manila, I 132 
Chinda, Viscount, II 282 
Chirol, Sir Valentine, I 7, 84, 74, 77, 
250, 271-2, 275, 879 ; II 816 
Chisholm, Hugh, II 8-9 
Church at Headquarters, II 120 
Churchill, Winston, II 15-6, 807 
“Citizen of Minnesota,” The, II 108-11 
City (London), July 81, 1914, II 8 
Civil ta Cattolica, I 144 
Clarke, Sir Stanley, I 216 
Clausewitz’s doctrine, II 40-1, 80, 118-9 
Clemenceau, M,, I 267; II 199-200, 205, 
213, 262-3, 266-7, 272-4, 280, 309-14, 
318, 320, 323-8, 330-2, 334, 336-7, 
372-3 

Clemenceau and Eug&nie, II 255-8 
Clemenceau interviews, I 58, 284-8 ; II 
157-8 

Clemenceau vs . Lloyd George, II 318, 
330 

Clemenceau vs. Wilson, II 310-4, 326 
Clericalism in Italy, I 133-40 
Clynes, Mr., II 306 
Coalition Government falls, II 885 
Cocarde, La, I 60 
Colonial expansion, I 82 
Committee of Action for Italy, II 217 
“Compensation” to Italy, II 59-61 
Conference on Armaments, see Washing- 
ton Conference 
Congress of Vienna, II 276 
Conservatives' meeting, II 7 
Cook, E. T., I 58 

Corfu, Declaration of, II 166-9, 171, 
174-5 

Corriere de la Sera, II 169, 179, 183, 197, 
203 


Council of Four, II 298, 817, 819-20, 
872 

Council of Ten, II 269-70, 275, 327-8, 
372 

Council of Three, II 830 
Council of Three and Austria, II 333 
Council of Three and the League, II 387 
Covenant, The, see League of Nations 
Covenant 

Cox, Harold, II 94 
Craig, Sir James, II 361 
Crane, Charles R., II 304 
Crane, Richard, II 878 
“Crime de Menthe” II 122 
Cretan affair, I 107 
Crewe House, see Propaganda 
Crillon, The, II 265-6 
Crisis of January, 1918, II 164 
Crispi, I 104, 109, 111, 115 
Croatian incident, I 226-7 
Croats in Austrian army, II 208 
Croats, see also 
Slavs, Southern 
Yugoslavs 

Cromer, Lord, II 126-8 
Crozier, M., I 344-5 
Cubitt, Mr., II 48 
Currie, Sir Philip, I 133 
Currie, Lord, I 160 
Currie's luncheon, I 162-4 
Curzon, Lord, II 131, 370, 878 
Curzon boycott. The, II 365 
Czech prisoners’ song, I 45 
Czechoslovak army in France, II 216 
Czechoslovak government recognized, II 
247 

Czechoslovak legion, II 45 
Czechoslovak National Council, II 213, 
231-2, 286 

Czechoslovak recognition, II 283 
Czechoslovaks, II 97-100 
Czechoslovaks vs. Poles, II 275-6, 278 
Czechoslovaks, see also 
Slavs, Southern 
Yugoslavs 

Czechs, The, II 48-50 
Czechs and France, I 43 
Czechs proclaim independence, II 247 
Czechs, see also 
Slavs, Southern 
Yugoslavs 

Cfeernin, Count, II 180 

Bail, The, II 850 

Daily Chronicle, I 58 

Daily Express , I 273 ; II 296 



INDEX 


405 


Daily Mail, I 274 ; II 73, 250, 268, 299, 
816, 348, 347 

Daily Mail and L&nsdowne, II 218-0 
Daily Mail and The Times, II 286-7 
Daily Mail of Paris, II 250-60, 282-5, 
290, 808-8, 821, 386 
Daily Mail Year Book, I 851 
Daily Telegraph, I 888 ; II 164, 296 
^Dalmatia, II 175, 828 
Danilo, Prince, I 242-3 
Danish journalist’s story, I 205 
Danzig question, II 296-7 
“Darkest hour,” The, II 128-68 
Dawson, Geoffrey, II 286-8, 885 
Declaration of Corfu, II 166-9, 171, 174, 
175, 230, 234-7 

Declaration of London, II 880-1 
Defence of Realm Act, II 75, 77 
Delcass^, M., II 64-7, 107 
Democracy, II 395-6 
“Denkmal Willy ” I 79 
Depretis, I 186 
Derby, Lord, II 131, 800 
Derby system, II 78-9 
Degsino, General, II 147 
Deutsche Tagczeitung, II 225 
Diaz, General, II 203-4, 211 
Djemal Bey, Talk with, I 375 
Dongola expedition, I 88, 105 
Donoughmore, Lord, II 855, 857 
“DORA,” II 75, 77 
Douaumont, Fort, II 81-2 
Draga, Queen of Sweden, I 201 
Dreyfus case, I 60 
Dreyfus case and Italy, I 146-50 
Drummond, Henry, I 5 
Dual Alliance, I 84-5 
Dual Alliance, Bismarck on, I 87 
Dual System, Purpose of, I 224-5 
Dubsky, Count, I 405-6 
Duchesne, Mgr., I 213 
Duels in Germany, I 73 
Duma, II 132 
Dun raven, Lord, II 857 
Dupuy, C., I 41, 68, 67 
Dzieduszcki, Count, I 260, 263-5, 300, 
331-3; II 112-3 

East, The Far, I 62, 199-200 
Echo de Paris, II 317 
Economics, see Political economy dis- 
appointing 

Economists Europien , I 64 
Edinburgh Review, II 242 
Edinburgh Review article, II 94-7 
Edinburgh Review article of 1914, I 396 


Edward VII, I 192-3, 317-22, 826-7 
Edward VII analyzed, I 287 
Edward VII and France, I 206-8 
Edward VII at Marienbad, I 216-6, 267 
Edward VII meets Emperors, I 281-2 
Edward VII sees Kaiser, I 235 
Edward VII, Talks with, I 285, 283-5 
Edward VII visits Vienna, I 208 
Egyptian policy, Clemenceau on, I 286 
Emanuel, Guglielmo, II 184, 196, 202-3, 
212-3 

Enemy Propaganda Department, II 186 
Engels, F., I 35 

England and Belgium’s violation, II 36-7 
England and France, II 69-72 
England and France, see also Anglo- 
French relations 
England declares war, II 31-3 
England in ’Nineties, I 4 
England in 1905, I 233 
England in 1911, I 342 
England in July, 1914, II 1, 8 
England, Jealousy of, I 154, 156 
England mobilizes, II 18 
England warned, I 380-1 
England warned by Clemenceau, I 286-7 
England’s dangers, II 398-9 
English army needed, I 342, 349 
English character, I 51 ; II 70-2 
English inconsistency, I 61 
English university training, I 16 
Englishmen and Americans, I 69 
Entente, The, see Anglo-French relations 
“ Esprit Public cn Allemagne, ff II 191 
Esterhazy, Major, I 146, 148 
Eugenie, Empress, II 253-8 
Eulenberg, Count, I 97-9 
Europe in 1908, I 255, 277 
Europe in 1909, I 323 
Europe, 1910-13, I 326-68 
Europe, 1915-16, II 79-80 
Europe, 1916-17, II 123-63 
Europe in January, 1918, II 164 
Europe vs. America, I 131 
European Economic Conference, see 
Cannes Conference 

Evans, Sir Arthur, II 169, 171, 175, 188 
Evans, Sir L. Worthington-, see Worth- 
ington-Evans, Sir L. 

Fabians, The, I 5 
Fagalde, Colonel, II 146 
Faringdon, Lord, I 4 
Fascism, II 395 
Fashoda incident, I 44 
Faure, F£lix, I 57, 61 



40G 


INDEX 


Federalization of Austria, II 139 
Feisal, Emir, II 800, 828 
Fejervftry, Baron, I 222 
Ferdinand of Bulgaria, I 216, 873-4 
Fergusaon, Sir James, I 118 
Ferrari, Cardinal, I 129 
Festubert, II 78 

“First World War,” The, II 148-9 
Fiume, II 2C3, 299, 328-31 
Fischer, Father, I 298 
Fisher, Lord, II 83 
FitzAlan, Lord, II 355 
“Flag Day,” An Italian, II 289-40 
Flanagan, J. W., II 7 
Flying Squadron, The, I 69 
Foch, General, II 32, 41, 146, 201, 266, 
326 

Foch on the Armistice, II 251-2 

Fog in London, I 38 

Fogazzaro, A., II 106 

“Foi et Vie,” II 69, 90 

Folchi, Mgr., I 139-40 

Foreign news, I 273 

Formalists and Realists, II 289, 298 

Forstner, Lieut, von, I 882 

Forum, The Roman, I 178-82 

Fouill^e, A., I 52 

Four Power Pacific Treaty, II 378 

“Fourteen Points,” II 245, 268 

“Fourteen Points” message, II 179, 181 

Foville, M. de, I 64 

Fradeletto, Signor, I 232 

France, 1893-96, I 34-66 

France, 1911, I 342 

France and England, see Anglo-French 
relations 

France and Germany, I 44 
France and Russia, I 42, 61 
France at Washington Conference, II 
375-6 

Francis Ferdinand, Archduke, I 217-8, 
229, 235-6, 242-3, 295-6, 298-9, 308, 

312- 3, 315, 334, 340, 358, 367, 893, 
896-403 

Francis Joseph, Emperor, I 196, 219-21, 
229, 254, 261-4, 408 
Francis Joseph analyzed, I 238*41 
Frankfurter Zeitung, I 372 ; II 75, 248 
Franklin-Bouillon, M., II 191, 198, 199, 
209 

Frazier, Arthur Hugh, II 279-80, 305, 

313- 6, 819, 334 

Free silver, see Silver question 
Freeman, G. S., II 288 
Fremdenblatt, I 206, 302, 820, 387, 405 
French, Sir John, II 40-1, 79, 140 


French and German tongues, 1 39 
French colonial policy, 1 47 
French Constitution, I 55-6 
French diction, 1 86 
French foreign relations, I 48 
French foreign relations, ms also 
Anglo-French relations 
France and Germany, etc. 

French intellectuals, I 49 
French language, I 36-7, 89 
French loan to Austria, I 846-6 
French mind and English mind, I 50 
French politics, I 89 
French Presidency, I 54 
French Socialists, I 40 
French thought and German thought, I 
88 

Friedenburg, P. von, I 181 
Fried jung, Dr., I 289 
Fried jung affair, I 808-15 
“Front line” article, II 814 
Fullerton, Morton, I 176 
Funder, Dr., I 811 
Fyfe, Hamilton, II 224, 242 

Gallenga-Stuart, II 191 
Gallidni, General, II 40, 41 
Gallipoli, II 79-80 
Gambetta, L. M., I 56 
Garibaldi, I 109 
Geddes, Sir Auckland, II 874 
Genoa Conferenoe, II 379-81, 891 
George V, I 388 

George Y visits Ireland, II 864-60, 368 
George Y writes Poincar£, II 15 
George V’s Irish speech, II 858-60 
George, David Lloyd-, see Lloyd George 
George Washington, U.9.S., II 264, 313, 
819, 326 

G^raud, Andr£, II 817 
German aims in 1912, I 351-4 
German and French tongues, I 39 
German colonies problem, II 223-4, 246, 
275-6 

German- English rivalry, I 281-2 
German hate of England, I 67, 81-8 
German industrial expansion, I 356-7 
German liberalism dead, I 82 
German militarism, I 72 
German military expansion, I 858 
German Peace Delegates, II 885 
German prisoners, II 86-8 
German propaganda, II 162-8 
German reaction, I 70 
German-Russian Treaty, II 888 
German secret treaty with Russia, I 95 



INDEX 


407 


German spies, II 18 
German thought, I 89 
German university training, I 16 
Germans and The Times, I 275*6 
Germans, Plans to teach the, II 247*9 
Germany, 1892*98, I 1-88 
Germany, 1896, I 66 
Germany and England, #ee Anglo-German 
relations 

Germany and France, I 44 
Germany and Russia, I 84 
Germany and Russia in 1903, I 227*8 
Germany and South Africa, I 69 
Germany backs Austria, I 404 
Germany declares war on Russia, II 12 
Germany, Propaganda against, IX 221*7 
Germany responsible, II 193 
Germany, Socialism in, I 26-81 
Germany, see also Triple Alliance 
Germany's future, II 394 
Germany’s Polish policy, I 95 
Geshoff, M., I 860-1 
Gibbons, Cardinal, II 841 
Giolitti, I 185-6, 869; II 57-8 
Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, I 1 ; II 899 
Gipsies, II 117 
Gipsy’s prophecy, I 198-4 
Gladstone, W. B.,I4; II 841 
Gleichen, Lord, II 180 
Godkin, E. L., I 76 
Gocben and Breslau , II 62 
Goldscheider’B dinner, I 404*5 
Goluchowski, Count, I 199-202, 206, 209- 
10, 227-9, 232, 284-6, 241 
Gore, Canon, I 6 
Gorizia, II 108-4 
Gortchakoff, Prince, I 87 
Goschen, Sir Edward, I 249, 258-4, 264- 
6, 282-6, 289, 817 

Goschen interviews Bethmann-Hollweg, 
II 29-80 

“Gott mit uns,” I 79 
Government attacks Times , II 74-8 
Government of Ireland Act, II 855-6 
Government of Ireland Bill, II 850-1 
Grave, Jean, I 52 
Green Book, Italian, II 59, 62, 105 
Greenberg, Dr., II 892 
Gregorin, M., II 173 
Grey, Sir Edward, I 848-4, 350-1, 354, 
387-8, 892, 409; II 1, 4-5, 12-6, 18, 
20-1, 26-8, 68, 64-6, 127, 186 
Grqy interviewed, I 154 
Grey’s speech, August 8d, II 26-8 
GYidiron Club, II 878 
Griffith, Arthur, II 352-8 


Grigg, Sir Edward, II 355-6, 379 
Guest, S. A., II 221, 224, 242 
Guiccioli, Count, I 246-7 
Guyau, J. M., I 52 
Guyot, Yves, I 64 

Hague Conference of Experts, II 884 
Haig, General Sir Douglas, II 79, 101, 
116-20, 122, 140 
Haladjian Effendi, I 878 
Haldane, Lord, II 18, 16, 25, 88, 219, 
854 

Haldane and peace, II 217 
Hamburg Dockers’ strike, I 101 
Hamburg revelations, I 86-92 
Hamburger Nachrichten, I 86-8 
Hankey, Sir Maurice, II 269, 806 
Hanotaux, G., I 62, 70 
Hanotaux interview, I 106 
Hapsburg Dynasty, II 118 
Hapsburg issue, The, II 389-90 
“Hapsburg Monarchy,” The, I 870*2, 
406 ; II 115, 253 
Hapsburg problems, 1 824 
Hapsburg riddle, I 828-80 
Hapsburgs, see also 
Austria 

Austria-Hungary 
Harcourt, Sir \V., I 143-4 
Harden’s Zukunft article, I 91 
Harding, President, II 802-4, 872 
Harmsworth, Alfred, see Northdiffe, 
Lord 

Harper f s Weekly, I 57, 59 

Harvey, George, II 161-2, 302-4, 377-9 

Haskins, Professor, II 815 

HaweiB, Mr., I 6 

Hayashi, Count, I 211 

H eadlam - Morley, J. W., II 1, 221, 315 

Headquarters, British, II 117-8, 120, 121 

Hecker, Father, I 141-2 

" Hex Slovane” signal, II 43-4 

Henderson, Arthur, II 181 

Henry of Prussia, Prince, II 6 

Henry, Colonel, I 147, 148 . 

Henry, Sir Edward, II 41 

Herald , The New York, I 76; II 866 

Herbette, Jean, II 317 

Herr, General, II 89 

Herr, Lucien, I 48 

Herron, Professor, II 276-6 

Hertling, Count, II 180, 198 

Herd, Dr. Theodore, II 891 

Hewart, Lord, II 75, 77 

Hindenburg, Marshal von, II 189 

Hindenburg on propaganda, II 226 



408 


INDEX 


Hinkoritcb, Dr., II 65 
“History of Twelve Days,” II 1 
History, Philosophy of, II 887-8 
Hoetzendorf, General von, I 858, 361, 865 
Hohenberg, Princess, I 235-6, 898-9 
Hohenlohe, Prince, I 68, 92, 97-100 
Holland's attitude, II 150-1 
Hollweg, Bethmann-, 000 Bethmann- 
Hollweg 

Holy Alliance, II 888 
Holy Boman Empire, II 388 
“Home front,” The, II 88, 128 
Home Rule Act, II 340, 847 
Hoover, Herbert, II 805 
Homung, E. W., II 120 
Hortis, Signor, I 232 
House, Colonel, II 250-1, 260, 264, 266- 
7, 269-71, 273-4, 279, 281, 283-5, 288- 
94, 296, 298, 302-5, 309-11, 813-5, 
317, 819, 322, 324, 828-9, 333-4, 336- 
7, 341 

House and Wilson disagree, II 291-4 
House of Commons, II 322 
Huddleston, Sisley, II 318 
Hughes, C. E., II 369, 372-4 
Hughes, W. M., II 218, 822-8 
Huldermann’s “Ballin,” II 18 
Humbert, King, I 165-8 
Humbert, Attack on King, I 197-8 
Hungarian National Council, II 247 
Hungarian partisans, I 221-2 
Hungarian politics, I 223-5 
Hungarian tongue, Dispute about, I 219- 
20 

Hungary, 1902, I 196 
Hussein Djahid, I 878 
Hutier, General von, II 227 
Huxley, Thomas, I 4 
Huysmans, Camille, II 217 
Hylton, Lord, II 24-5 
Hymans, Paul, II 272 
Hyndman, H. M., II 126, 129, 151 

Imperial!, Marquis, II 127-8, 197, 230, 
239 

“Imperialism,” I 272 
“In Darkest England,” I 5 
Independence proclamations, II 205-6 
Infallibility, Papal, I 173 
Inter-departmental Committee, II 242-6 
International Economic Conference, see 
•Genoa Conference 

International police force issue, II 282 
“Interview,” The New York Times, II 
866-8 

Ireland, Archbishop, I 141, 148-5 


Ireland, 1914, I 892 
Ireland, Plan for, H 847-9 
Ireland, see also 
Anglo-Irish Conference 
George V, etc. 

Irish armistice, II 852-8 
Irish disorders, II 850-2, 857 
Irish Free State born, II 861 
“Irish Peace” articles, II 348-6 
Irish question, II 840-62 
Irish question and America, see Amer- 
ica and the Irish question 
“Is It War?” I 350-4 
“Islanders,” Kipling’s, I 233 
Isvolsky, I 266-7, 269-70, 277-8, 801 
Isvolsky and Aehrenthal, I 290-5, 883-5 
Italia Reale, I 171 
Italian front, 1916, II 101-6 
Italian front crisis, II 145-9 
Italian Green Book, II 59, 62 
Italian monarchy. The, I 110 
Italian nationalism, I 110-12 
Italian socialists, I 170 
Italians leave Conference, II 380 
Italians return, II 331 
Italian- Yugoslav agreement, II 184-6 
Italian- Yugoslav meetings, II 169-79, 
181-4 

Italo- Yugoslav question, II 326-35 
I talo- Yugoslav relations, II 263 
Italy, 1897-99, I 103-62 
Italy and Austria, I 225-33, 242, 246-8 
Italy and China, I 161 
Italy and Dreyfus, I 146-50 
Italy and England, I 112-4, 169 
Italy and France, I 113 
Italy and the Boer War, I 155-7 
Italy and the Triple Alliance, II 56-61 
Italy balks, I 369-70 
Italy, Clericalism in, I 129, 133-40 
Italy, Disorders in, I 126-6 
Italy in Africa, I 116-7 
Italy propaganda, II 217 
Italy, Socialism in, I 185-6 
Italy, see also 
Treaty of London 
Triple Alliance 

Italy’s “hallowed selfishness,” II 79 
Italy’s position in 1918, II 181 
Italy’s Treaty of London, II 63, 61-8 

Jagow, Herr von, II 29-30 
Jameson raid, I 63, 68 
Japan, see Anglo- Japanese Alliance 
Japanese- American conflict, The possible, 
II 870-1 



INDEX 


409 


Japanese and Australians, II 822-3 
Japanese-Rugsian War, see Russo-Japanese 
War 

Jaurfes, Jean, II 887 
Jena, University of, I 9 
Jesuit doctrine, I 178-5 
Jesuit policy, I 189-41, 144, 146 
Jesuits, I 257-8, 260 ; II 112-3, 115-6 
Jesuits and Jews, Austrian, I 802-5 
Jeunesse deg vaincus , I 61 
Jewish problem in Germany, I 32 
Jewry, International, II 890-8 
Jews and Jesuits, Austrian, I 302-5 
Jews, see also Anti-Semitism 
Joffre, General, II 40-1, 67, 79, 101 
Joffre’s strategy, II 72-3 
Johnson, Major Douglas, II 279, 327, 334 
Johnstone, Sir Alan, I 215 
Jones, Kennedy, II 320-1 
Joseph, Mgr., I 873 
Journal des Debats, II 83 
Journalism and the Government, II 68-9 
Journalism as career, I 1-2 
Journalism, Ethics of, I 75 
Journalism, School of, I 76 
Journalist, How to be a, I 6 
Journalistic changes, II 286-8 
Journalistic stratagem, A, I 126-7 
Journalist’s golden rule, I 58 
Journalists and Government, II 52, 74-8 
Journalists and Statesmen, I 119-21 
Journalists, Austrian, I 330-1 
Journals, French, and Lloyd George, II 
297-8 

Jouvain, Colonel, II 208 
Jovanovitch, Jovan, II 230, 238 
July 2 9- August 3, II 28 
Justice, La, I 58 

Kaiser, see William II 
“Kaiser’s Own,” II 48 
Kftllay, M. de, I 202-4 
Kfilnoky, Count, II 59 
Kamimura, Admiral, I 214-5 
Kapnist, Count, I 214 
Karageorgevitch, Peter, I 204, 206 
KArolyi, II 248 
Kassala, I 122-3 
Kent, Mr., II 224 
Kerr, Philip, II 295, 805 
Khuen-Hddervdry, Count, I 218, 220, 

228, 289 

Kiderlen-Waechter, Herr von, I 341 
Kinsky, Prince Charles, I 217, 818 
Kipling’s “Islanders,” I 288 
Kipling’s “Recessional,” I 154 


“Kirchen-Auffusta,” I 79 
Kitchener, General, I 105-7 ; II 82-8, 
72-8 

Kitchener attacked, II 78 
Kitchener’s armies, II 89 
Klotz, M., II 320 
Kluck, General von, II 40 
Kolnische V olkszeitung , II 225-6, 248 
Kolnische Zeitung, II 22, 75, 248 
Konopisht, Pact of, I 396, 898-9 
Kopecky, Francis, II 41, 44, 47-9 
Kotze, Incident of von, I 72 
Kramarzh, Dr., I 859; II 247, 271 
Kristoffy’s plan, I 228 
Kruger, Telegram to, I 63, 68 
Kruger’s ultimatum, I 153 
Kiihlmann, Herr von, I 885-6, 891-2; II 
150, 193 

{( Kultur, ,> II 194, 289 
Kuroki, General, I 214 
Kyffhkuser Monument, I 79 

Lafargue, Paul, I 80 ; II 887 

Laing, Samuel, I 4 

Lamsdorff, Count, I 198, 200-1, 209 

Lansdowne, Lord, I 207, 210 

Lansdowne and peace, II 217-9 

Lansdowne’s plea, II 164 

Lansing, Mr., II 213-5, 327 

Larnaude, M., II 202 

Latin Quarter, I 36, 41, 61 

Lavino, Mr., I 250 

Lavisse, Ernest, I 38, 888 

Lavisse on the Entente, I 890 

Law, Sir Bonar, II 80, 181, 820, 885-6 

Law in Germany, I 26 

Lawrence, Colonel, II 800, 323 

Laeare, B., I 61 

“League of Free Nations,” II 223-4 
League of Nations, II 264-6, 268-9, 272, 
278, 282-4, 288-90, 293, 802, 309, 
311-5, 326, 336-7, 839, 898-4, 398 
League of Nations Covenant, II 281, 285, 
288-90, 296-7, 316, 322, 826, 837, 894 
League of the Three Emperors, II 888-9 
League to Enforce Peace, II 282 
Leckert, Herr, I 97-101 
Ledochowski, Father, II 108, 112-4, 

115-6 

Leipziger Neueste Nachrichten , I 115 
Lenin, II 128, 308-4, 898 
Leo XIII, I 39, 169-72 
Leroy-Beaulieu, P., I 64 
Lese-majesty, I 78 
Liberalism, Decline of, I 155 
Lichnowsky, 11., II 6 



410 


INDEX 


Lichnowsky interviewed, I 386-7 
Lichnowsky’s report, I 396 
Liebknecht, Wilhelm, I 26-8 
Limitation of Armaments, see Washing- 
ton Conference 
Lloyd, Sir George, II 7 
Lloyd George, I 281, 290, 348-4, 392; 
II 16, 181-3, 140-3, 146-6, 152, 167, 
179-81, 212, 249, 252, 266-70, 272-3, 
275-6, 288, 298, 295-8, 303-7, 309-10, 
317-21, 823-7, 830, 332, 386-7, 368-4, 
368, 376-85 

Lloyd George and Ireland, II 846-7, 860, 
353, 356 

Lloyd George and peace, II 217, 244-6 
Lloyd George and the Times , II 346, 349, 
851 

Lloyd George and Wilson, II 296, 297 
Lloyd George-Clemenceau quarrel, II 880 
Lloyd George denounces Northcliffe, II 
821-2 

Lloyd George on Clausewitz, II 119 
Lloyd George vs. Clemenceau, II 818 
Loisy, Father, I 255-7 
London, July 81, 1914, II 8 
London, Declaration of, II 380-1 
London fog, A, I 38 
London, Treaty of, II 53, 61, 62-8 
Long, Maurice, II 824, 825 
Loubet, M., I 68-4, 207 
Ludendorff, General, II 892 
Lueger, Dr., I 836-7 
Ltitzcw, I 97-101, 865, 408 
Lundville bombarded, II 29 
Lusitania, II 161 
Lussin, I 870-1 

Luther and the Hohenzollems, I 24, 26 
Luxemburg violated, II 14 
Luzzatti, Signor, I 128, 218 
Lyons, an objective, II 153 

McAdoo, Mr., II 142 
Macario, Mgr., I 105 
MacDonald, Ramsey, II 16 

Macdonogh, General, II 147, 149, 200 

Macedonian question, I 199-201 

Macedonian reforms, I 209-10 
Macedonian situation, I 250 

McKenna, Reginald, I 181, 281 
Mackenzie, J. E., I 102 ; II 75, 121 
MacMahon, Marshal, I 56 
McNeill, Ronald, II 126 
Macpherson, Ian, II 842 
Magyar, see Hungarian 
Mahdists, I 105-6 
Majestic, The, II 266-6 


Makino, Baron, I 214, 217-8 ; II 282, 822 
Malcolm, James A., II 891 
Malinoff, M., II 229 
Malta, Trouble in, I 169-61 
Maltese language issue, I 169-61, 164 
Manchester Guardian, II 148, 270, 810 
Manila Bay, I 132 
Marchand, Colonel, I 47 
Marchand’s mission, I 106 
Marconi, Senator, II 239-41, 886 
Margherita’s prayer, I 170-2 
Maria Josefa, Archduchess, I 286 
Marie Valerie, Archduchess, I 232 
Marienbad, I 215-6, 285 
Marienbad, 1907, I 267 
Marienbad, 1909, I 817 
Marillier, Mme., I 48 
Markovitch, Professor, I 811-2 
Marlowe, Thomas, II 287 
Marne victory, II 89-41 
Marschall, Baron, I 100 
Martchenko, Colonel, I 299 
Marx, Karl, II 898, 895 
Marx and Marxism, I 29-81 
Marx on history, II 887 
Masaryk, Professor, I 263, 807, 811-3, 
815-6, 859, 867; II 42-6, 58, 97-9, 
124-5, 129, 231-8, 260-1, 275, 890 
Massey, Mr., II 328 
Maunoury, General, II 40-1 
Maxse, Leo, II 809 
“May Movements,** I 125 
Meighen, Mr., II 870 
Moline, M., I 64 
Menelek, I 116-7, 120 
Mensdorff, II 163-6 
Mensdorff interview, I 407-9 
Mensdorff’s invitation, I 406-7 
Mercier, Cardinal, II 115 
Merry del Val, Mgr., I 182 
Methodism in Rome, I 158 
Metin, A., I 52 
Meyer, Kuno, I 892, 404 
Mihailovitch, M., II 288 
Militar-Wochenblatt, I 73 
Militarism in Germany, I 72 
Millerand, M., I 40; II 375 
Millerand, Interview with, I 68 
Millet, Captain Philippe, II 81-2 
Milner, Lord, II 181 
Milovanovitch, M., I 291 
Milovanovitch despatch, I 818 
Minds, French and English, I 50 
Minghetti, Laura, I 211 
Mitchell, Colonel C., II 208, 221, 224, 
242, 244-6, 260, 818 



INDEX 


Mobilization, Englizh, II 18 
Modernism, I 255-81 
Mola, General, II 146, 169-78, 175-9, 
181 

Monis, M., I 842 
Monroe Doctrine, II 815, 826 
Mordacq, General, II 201 
Morgan, J. P., I 4 

Morley, J. W. Headlam-, see Headlam- 
Morley, J. W. 

Morley, Lord, II 16 
Morley, Letter from Lord, II 861 
Morning Post , I 74, 88 
Morocco crisis, I 841, 848-4 
Morrison, Charles, I 4 
Moysset, Henri, II 191-2, 199 
Moysset’s statement, II 192-6 
Miirzsteg, programme, I 209, 250, 265-6 

Nancy visited, I 85 
Napoleon III, II 254, 256 
Naps in the Council of Four, II 873 
Nastitch, George, I 800-7 
Nation, The, N. Y., I 76 
National Review, II 309 
Nationality principle, II 63, 66, 07, 72, 
125, 127, 170, 174, 178, 184, 194, 272, 
278 

Nationality principle, see also 
Powers, Great and Small 
Naval policy, British, I 281 
Naval rivalry, I 281, 282 
Nerazzini, Major, I 105 
Nerazzini’s mission, I 116, 120 
Nere, G. dalle Bande, I 1 ; II 899 
Neue Freie Preset, I 304, 808, 310, 840, 
356, 401 

Neues Wiener Tageblatt, I 404 
Neutrality of England urged, II 8-9 
New Europe, II 128, 132, 284 
New Europe Plans, II 124-5 
New York Times, see Times, Error of the 
New York 

News, Foreign, I 278 
Newspapers, see Journalism, and names 
of newspapers 
Nicholas I, I 240 
Nicholas II, I 269 
Nicholas II, Toasts of, I 85 
Nicholas II visits France, I 85 
Nicholas II visits Germany, I 84 
Nicholas II’s toasts at Breslau, I 96 
Nicholas of Montenegro, I 362 ; II 234 
Nicholson, Sir Arthur, II 26 
Nietzsche’s philosophy, I 19 
Nigra, Count, I 225 


411 

Nineteenth Century article in 1916, I 
896-403 

’Nineties, The, I 4 
Nitti, II 834 
Nivelle, General, II 152 
Nordau quoted, I 856 
Norfolk, Duke of, I 158 
Northcliffe, Lord, I 274-6, 841, 851, 864, 
879, 410; II 9-12, 16, 18, 88-4, 75-6, 
81-91, 93, 101-2, 105*8, 114, 116-7, 
122, 181, 140-2, 144, 185-92, 197-8, 
200, 208-5, 212, 216, 218, 222, 227, 
239-41, 244, 246, 248-50, 259-60, 268, 
272-3, 286-7, 820-1, 889-40, 348-4, 

346, 351-2, 362, 364-7, 8C9, 383-5 
Northcliffe attacks Kitchener, II 73 
Northcliffe, Death of, II 384-5 
Northcliffe denounced by Lloyd George, 
II 821-2 

Northcliffe in America, II 141-3 
Northcliffe writes Balfour, II 222-3, 
227-8 

Novi List, I 226, 815 
Novi-Bazar railway, I 209-270 
Novoe Vremya, I 838 

Observer, I 271, 274 

Official Telegraph Agency, I 97-8 

Old Age Pensions, I 6 

“Old Pear Tree,” The, I 831-8 

Olney- Salisbury note, I 60 

Onslow, Lord, II 27 

Orlando, Signor, II 181, 183, 203, 210-1, 
216, 267, 273, 279-81, 327-30, 833-5, 
337 

Orlando’s bad faith, II 261-3 
Orleanist policies, I 56 
Osservatore Romano, I 129, 132, 148, 
147, 156-7, 1*1 
Osusky, M., II 261 
Ouroussof, Prince, I 252, 258 

Pacific Treaty, see Four Power Pacific 
Treaty 

Pacifism in England, II 217-9 
“Pact of Non-Aggression,” II 884 
“Pact of Borne,” II 184-185, 209, 211 
Paderewski, I 274 
Pall MaU Gazette, I 6 
Pan-Germanism, I 66, 77 ; II 125-6 
Pan-Slavism, I 244-5, 268, 856-60 
Pan-Slavism, see also 
Slavs, Southern 
Yugoslavs 

Panama Canal, II 897 
Panama scandal, I 89 



412 


INDEX 


Pannizardi, Major, I 147*60 

Panther, I 848 

Pares, Sir Bernard, II 46 

Paris, Gaston, I 88 

Paris, Armistice Day in, II 250-1 

Paris bombarded, II 201-8 

Paris, Life in, I 86 

Pashitch, ML, II 64-6, 166-7, 280, 284-9, 
262-3, 827, 884 

Pashitch, Discussion with, II 235-8 
Passchendaele, II 119, 124, 146 
Pasteur, L., I 52 
Patent leather boots, I 206 
Paulsen, Friedrich, I 16, 84, 66 
Paulsen and his doctrine, I 17-9 
Peace and War, II 25 
Peace Conference, II 249-60, 259-888 
Peace Conference plan, A, II 264 
Peace Conference programme suggested, 
II 290-1 

Peace Conference proposals, II 151-2 
Peace mind, The, II 72 
Peace mind and war mind, II 88-9 
Peace programme, A, II 94-7 
Peace programme of 1918, A, II 242-6 
Peace propaganda, II 241-6 
Peace propaganda, 1918, II 164-5 
Peace propaganda programme, II 321 
Peace Treaty, The, II 336, 894, 396 
“Peace with Honour,” II 803 
Pearce, Senator, II 871 
Pearson, Arthur, I 271, 273-5 
Pearson, Karl, I 4 
“Pechvogel,” The, I 229 
Pelloux, General, I 124, 130, 151, 165-6 
Pelloux, Interview with, I 147 
People’s Palace, I 6 
“Perfidious Albion,” II 69-72 
P4rier, M. Casimir, see Casimir-P4rier, M. 
Pernot, Maurice, II 83-7, 90 
Pershing, General, II 252 
Pester Lloyd, I 807 
Pttain, General, II 83, 88-9, 152 
Peter of Serbia, II 60 
Petit Journal, I 846 
Petite Rtpublique, La, I 40, 58 
Phillips, C. J., II 222, 224, 242, 240, 
260, 852 

Piave, The, II 146, 148, 215 

Pichon, M., II 214, 216, 231, 823 

Pierstorff, Dr., I 9 

Pig war. The, 1 245 

“Pisgah and Sinai” article, II 808 

Pius IX, I 189, 141 

Pius X, I 250-7 

“Place In the sun,” The, I 82, 850 


Plumer, General Sir H., II 200, 208 
Plunkett, Sir Francis, I 215, 329 
Poincare, M., II 331, 379, 881 
Poincare, Talk with, I 389 
Poland, II 114, 180 
“Poland Is Not Yet Lost,” II 45 
Poland, Report on, II 296-7 
Poles vs. Czechoslovaks, II 275-6, 278 
Police surveillance, I 254-5 
Political economy disappointing, I 15 
Polk, Mr., II 873 
Ponsonby, Sir F., I 821 
Pope and King, I 183, 184-40, 145, 169-72 
Pope disappointed, I 182 
Pope’s position, I 172-7 
Port Arthur, I 214 
Portuguese colonics, I 387-9 
Portuguese king assassinated, I 277 
Potiorek, General, I 400-1 
Powell, General Baden, see Baden-Powell, 
General 

Powers, Great and small, II 272, 274 
Powers, Great and small, see also Na- 
tionality principle, The 
Press, The, see Journalism 
Press Bureau, II 147 
Pribram, Dr., I 113; II 55, 67 
Prinkipo meeting, II 270-1, 801-4 
Prisoners, German, II 86-8 
“Problems of Power” quoted, I 76 
Prochaska affair, I 863 
Proclamations of independence, II 205-6 
“Programme for Peace,” A, II 94-7, 242 
Propaganda, 1917-18, II 164-220 
Propaganda after peace, II 247-50 
Propaganda against Austria, II 187-91 
Propaganda against Bulgaria, II 227-9 
Propaganda by fear, II 162-3 
Propaganda Conference, II 191-6, 241-2 
Propaganda, Enemy, II 185 
Propaganda for German troops, II 221-7 
Propaganda for Italy, II 217 
Propaganda for peace, II 241-6 
Propaganda, Pro-German, II 185 
Propaganda, Some Allied, II 108-11 
Propaganda, Truth of British, II 226-7 
Prussian militarism, II 195 
Public Ledger, II 800-7 
Public Safety Bill, I 151-2 
Publicity and secret treaties, II 266-9 
Pulitzer, Joseph, I 08-4, 75 
Putnik, Marshal, II 60 

Quadruple Entente, I 248-53 
Queiroz on the Kaiser, I 20-4 
“Quintessence of Austria,” I 896 



INDEX 


Ragusa, Incidents at, I 242 
Rakovsky, Stephen, I 222 
Rampolla, Cardinal, I 147 
Rantzau, Count Brockdorff-, see Brock- 
dorff-Rantzau, Count 
Reading, Lord, II 142-3 
Realists and formalists, II 289-293 
“Recessional,” Kipling’s, I 154 
Redus, E., I 53 
Redmond, John, II 841 
Reformation, I 25 
Reichanzeiger’s statement, I 91 
Reichspost , I 308, 311 
Re-Insurance Treaty, I 228 
Religion and science in ’Nineties, I 4-6 
Renan, Ernest, I 52 
Reparations, II 386 
Reparations Commission, II 336 
Reparations, German, II 380-2 
Repington, Colonel, II 73, 118, 147-9 
Reuter, Colonel von, I 381-5 
Review of Reviews, I 6, 276 
Revue des Deux Mondes, I 61 
Rhine question, II 295-7, 311-2, 316, 325 
Rhineland republic proposed, II 295 
Rhodes, Cecil, I 68 
Ribot, M., I 61, 63 
Richardson’s letter, II 75-7 
Riddell, Lord, II 249 
Risorgimento, The, I 109 
Rivers, W. H., I 34 
Roberts, Lord, I 342, 349, 354; II 83 
Robertson, General Sir William, II 79, 
119, 140, 143, 145-6 
Robilant, Count di, I 113-5 
Robinette, Mr., II 191 
Robinson, Geoffrey, I 379 
Rodd, Sir Rennell, I 117 
Roman archaeology, I 178-82 
Roman Catholic Church, II 112-4, 115-6 
Roman Catholic Church, see also 
Jesuits 
Pope 

and names of Popes 
Roman law, I 25 

Roman Question, The, I 133-40, 145 
Rome CongresB, The, II 209-10, 213-6, 
229, 261, 268 

Rome, First impressions, I 103 
Rome, Pact of, II 184-5, 209, 211 
Rome, Spell of, I 182-3 
Roosevelt, President, I 234 
Rosebery, Lord, I 159 ; II 362 
Rothermere’s sons, II 144 
Rothschild, Baron von, I 340 ; II 16 
Rozhdestvensky, Admiral, I 217 


413 

Rudini, Marquis di, I 104, 116-7, 122-4, 
126, 128, 130; II 56 
Ruhr occupation, II 382 
Rumanes in Austrian army, II 208 
Rumania visited, I 848-9 
Rumania vs, Serbia, II 277 
Rumania’s entry, II 66-7 
Russia and Austria, I 383-5 
Russia and France, I 42 
Russia and Triple Alliance, I 89 
Russia, 1916-17, II 123 
Russia’s future, II 395 
Russia, see also 
Prinkipo 
Bolshevism 
Pan-Slavism 
Names of Tsars, etc. 

Russo- Austrian crisis, I 295-302 
Russo-German Treaty, II 388 
Russo- Japanese crisis, I 211-3 
Russo-Japanese War, I 214-5 

Sabatier, Paul, I 211, 257 
Sacro egismo, II 79 
Said Khalid, I 83 
Salandra, Signor, II 57-8, 79 
Salem, Maitre, I 375-6 
Salisbury, Lord, I 88, 113-6, 192, 207, 
387 

Salisbury-Olney note, I 60 
Salmond, Sir John, II 871 
Salonika, II 80, 118 
Samuel, Herbert, II 16 
San Giuliano, Marquis di, II 55, 68 
Sanjak, I 270 

Sarajevo assassinations, I 393, 400-3 
Sarre Basin question, II 809-11, 315-6, 
325 

Saunders, George, I 74, 102 
Savoy, House of, I 110 
Say, Leon, I 64 

Sazonof, M., I 147; II 12, 44, 64 
Scala and the Pope, I 171 
Schad, Lieut., I 388-5 
Schellendorf, General von, I 73, 97 
Schiemann, Professor, II 341, 892, 404 
Schiff, Jacob, IT 301-2, 332 
Schwanebach, P. de, I 267 
Schwarzkoppen, Colonel von, I 147-50 
“Scoop,” A, I 12 
“Scrap of Paper,” The, II 28-30 
Sea serpent stories, I 7-9 
Secret treaties, The, II 268-9, 273, 275, 
276-8, 298, 827 

“Secrets of Crewe House,” II 225 
Seignobos, Charles, I 88, 48 



414 


INDEX 


"Senior Wrangler,” The, II 224 
Serbia, II 67 

Serbia and Austria, I 863-4 
Serbia assents, I 302 
Serbia "conspiracies,” I 866*16 
Serbia routs Austria, II 66 
Serbia vs. Rumania, II 277 
Serbia, see also 
Slavs, Southern 
Yugoslavs 

Serbian assassinations, I 201, 208-6 
Serbian policy, II 234-0 
Serbian Society of Great Britain, II 
125-81 

Serbian war aims, II 280-3 
Serbo-Croat Coalition, I 244, 806-10, 813 
Serbo- Yugoslav dissensions, II 288-9 
"Serbs, Croats and Slovenes,” II 166 
"Serbs, Croats and Slovenes,” see also 
Yugoslavs 

Seton-Watson, Dr. R. W., II 88, 45-6, 64, 
100, 124, 128-80, 165-6, 160, 178, 

183-4, 196-8, 203, 208-9, 211, 218, 
224, 229, 284, 242, 260-1, 279 
Shaw, Bernard, I 5 
Shaw, Oapt. R. J., II 842 
Shells, The Deadly, II 121-2 
Shidehara, Mr., II 870 
"Shining armour,” I 836-7 
Sieghart, Privy Councillor, I 880-8 
Silver question, I 60, 08 
Silver question interviews, I 74 
Simon, J., I 56 
Simonds, Frank, II 284, 813-4 
Singer, Paul, I 29 
"Single front,” The, II 140, 144-5 
Sinn Fein, II 841-2, 848, 850, 852 
Sinn Fein fish story, II 852 
Sixtus, Prince, II 152 
Sizzo-Noris, Count, I 405 
Skirmunt, M., II 209 
Slatin Pasha, I 818 

Slavs, Southern, II 50-5, 125-81, 165-79 
Slavs, Southern, see also 
Pan-Slavism 
Yugoslavs 

Slovenes in Austrian army, II 208 
"Slovenski Yug,” I 307, 809, 811, 812, 
816 

Smith, Ballard, I 59 
Smodlaka, II 279 

Smuts, General, II 281, 805, 818, 828 
Smuts, Mission of, II 153-6 
Smyth, Dr. Ethel, II 263 
Social reform in 'Nineties, I 5 
Socialism, English, I 271 


Socialism, French, I 40 
Socialism, German, I 26-31 
Socialism, Italian, I 185-6 
Socialist efforts, II 151-2 
Socialists, Italian, I 170 
Sokolow, M., II 892 
"Sokols,” The, I 859 
Soldiers, French and German, I 86 
Somme, Battle of the, II 117, 119-20 
Sonnino, Baron, I 104, 121-2, 180, 161-4,* 
234; II 55, 57-62, 64, 127, 180, 106-7, 
174, 182*3, 206, 209-10, 214-0, 230, 
262-3, 207, 273, 275, 298, 827-8, 830-2 
Sonnino interview, 1 185*6 
Sorbonne, I 86-7 
Soury, Jules, I 88 
South African Republic, I 68 
Southern Slavs, see 
Pan-Slavism 
Slavs, Southern 
Yugoslavs 

Spain and Eugenie, II 266 
Spain, 1910, II 110-7 
Spalaikovitch, Dr., I 309, 811, 318 
Spanish- American War, I 180-2 
Spears, General, II 199, 200, 211 
Spender, J. A., I 6 
Spies, German, II 18 
"Splendid isolation,” I 88 
Stadler, Mgr., I 401 
Standard, The , I 27, 274 
Stanfordham, Lord, II 867 
Star, The Johannesburg, I 879 
Statesmanship, I 45 
Stead, W. T., I 6, 276 
Steed, Henry Wickham — 

early career, I 8 ; turns to journalism, 

3 ; first assignment, 6 ; interviews W. T. 
Stead, 6 ; goes to Jena, Germany, 9 ; 
reports Bismarck's speech, 11 ; goes to 
Berlin, 15 ; returns to Jena, 84 ; visits 
Zurich, Heidelburg, Strasburg, Nancy 
and Troyes, 35 ; studies in Paris, 36 ; 
nicknamed La Perflde, 47 ; at Mme. 
Marillier’s, 48 ; writes for French re- 
views, and for Harper's Weekly , 67 ; 
Westminster Gazette prints Millers na 
interview, 58; correspondent for New 
York World, 59 ; interest in America, 
59 ; interviews Loubet and others on 
silver question, 64 ; returns to Berlin, 
65 ; offers from New York Times and 
The World , 75; interview with Pulit- 
zer, 75 ; joins staff of The Times , as 
German correspondent, 76 ; witnesses 
Emperors' meeting at Breslau, 84 ; 



INDEX 


415 


write* of “Hamburg revelations,” 88 ; 
leaves Germany, 102 ; goes to Rome, 
103 ; interviews Hanotaux, 106 ; warns 
against Rudini’s policy, 117 ; eludes 
Italian censorship, 126-8 ; interviews 
Baron Friedenberg, 131 ; arranges in- 
terviews for Wilfrid Ward, 134 ; talks 
with Earl Grey, 164 ; Lord Currie’s 
luncheon, 162-4 ; writes history of 
Italy, 188 ; transferred to Vienna, 188 ; 
interviews K&llay, 202-4 ; visits Mar- 
ienbad, 216 ; visits Italy, 281-2 ; sum- 
moned by Edward VII, 236 ; Goschen 
and Dziedusyzcki to tea, 264-5 ; inter- 
views Isvolsky, 266 ; sees King Ed- 
ward, 1907, 267 ; advises as to The 
Times , 271-2, 275 ; sees Nortbcliffe, 
276 ; opinion of Lloyd George, 281 ; 
tells King Edward of Austria’s policy, 
288 ; interviews Clemenceau, 284 ; talks 
with King about Clemenceau, 286 ; 
visits Northdiffe, 341 ; talks with King 
of Rumania, 848-9 ; writes “la It 
War?” 350-4; visits Germany, 1912, 
357 ; transferred from Vienna, 1913, 
368 ; goes to Lussin island, 870 ; goes 
to Constantinople, 373 ; to London, 
November, 1913, 379 ; talk with Lich- 
nowsky, 885-6 ; interviews PoincarS, 
389 ; talks with Mensdorff, 407-8 ; a 
warning to Grey, 409-10; talk with Sir 
George Lloyd, II 7 ; with Northdiffe, 
10-1 interviews Benckendorff, 12 ; 
sees Paul Cambon, 13-6 ; reads Ballin’s 
message, 17-8 ; opens Wolff Bureau 
message, 18 ; calls upon Sir A. Nicol- 
son, 26 ; decides to stay at his post, 
37 ; consulted by Sir E. Henry, 41 ; 
Masaryk’s message, 42 ; the reply, 44 ; 
Talk with Grey about Balkans, 51 ; and 
with Delcasse about Treaty of London, 
66 ; makes peace with Foreign Office, 
68-9 ; interprets English character, 
Paris, 70-2 ; advises on Salonika, 80-1, 
goes to France with Northdiffe, 81-91 ; 
talks with German prisoners, 86-8 ; ex- 
plains England to French, 91-3 ; sus- 
pected by London detective, 100 ; visits 
Italian front, 101-6 ; talks with Victor 
Emmanuel, 105-6 ; poses as citizen of 
Minnesota, 108-11 ; talks with Black 
Pope, 112-4 ; recognized by Stepan- 
kowski, 115; visits Spain, 116-7; at- 
tacked by “Almeyreda”-Vigo, 184 ; lec- 
ture tour in France, 185-8 ; disagrees 
with Repington, 147-9 ; interviews 


Smuts, 154-6 ; talk with Clemenceau 
and Thomas, 167-9 ; instructs Ameri- 
cans, 159-61 ; at Italo- Yugoslav meet- 
ings, 169-79 ; talk with Orlando, 181 ; 
a mission to Italy, 196-212 ; calls on 
Clemenceau, 200-1 ; Orlando'* letter to 
Diaz, 204 ; plain words to Lloyd 
George, 212 ; write* Orlando, 216 ; 
writes “Watoh Lansdowne” article, 
218-9 ; talk with Benea, 282 ; discus- 
sion with Pashitch, *85-8 ; Lloyd 
George and peace, 244-6; invited to 
assist Colonel House, 260 ; visits Em- 
press Eug&iie, 253-6; reports to Clem- 
enceau, 256-7 ; advises Orlando, 261-2 ; 
advises Colonel House, 264-6 ; agree* 
to edit The Times , 286-6 ; suggestion* 
for Wilson, 298-9 ; scotches Bolshevist 
negotiations, 802-7 ; interview* with 
Clemenceau, 810-4, 324, 825 ; write* 

on The League, 887-8 ; returns to Lon- 
don, 338 ; congratulated by Lord Mor- 
Iey, 361 ; calls on Harvey, 868 ; sails 
for New York with Northdiffe, 866 ; 
misquoted by New York Times, 868-8 ; 
in Canada, 869; goes to Cannes, 877; 
resigns from The Times , 385 ; consulted 
by Bonar Law, 886 
Stefanik, II 209, 281-2 
Stefanik’s discovery, II 102 
Steffens, Lincoln, II 301 
Stepankowski, II 115 
Stockholm Conference, II 198 
Stockholm Conference proposed, II 151-2 
Stacker, Court Chaplain, I 82 
Stolypin’s reforms, I 840 
Strasburg visited, I 86 
Straus, Oscar, II 282 
Stuart, Sir Campbdl, II 224-6 
Student life in Paris, I 86-7 
Submarine question, II 874-6 
Supilo, Francis, I 226-7, 229, 306, 

808-11, 818-6; II 58-6, 64-6, 129-80, 
166, 168, 175 

Supreme Economic Council, II 881-8 
Swinderen, Peace-maker, II 149-51 
Swiss propagandist, The, II 162-8 
Sykes, Sir Mark, II 891 
Sykora, II 41, 44 
Syria question, II 298-300, 828-6 

Taft, Ex-President, II 282 
Tailh&de, L., I 68 
Talaat, Talk* with, I 874, 876, 878-9 
Tanks at Cambrai, II 124 
Tanks, First sight of, II 122 



*JLO 


INDEX 


Tarbell, Ida M., I 47 
Tardieu, M., II 815, 881 
Tausch, Herr von, I 97-101 
“Taxicab army,” II 41 
Tchitcherin, II 801, 804 
Teck, Duke of, I 217 
Temps, Le, II 81, 817 
Temps Nouveaux, Les, I 53 
Teschen trouble, II 274-5, 278 
Thery, E., I 64 
Thiers, L. A., I 55 
“Thinking General Staff,” II 195-6 
Thomas, Albert, II 157-9, 209 
“Through German Eyes,” II 121 
Times, The , I 3, 7-8, 84, 74-5, 80, 85, 
88, 102, 108-9, 114, 117, 126-8, 181, 
187-8, 147-8, 158-60, 164, 188, 210, 
216, 226-7, 281-2, 234, 248, 250, 

252-4, 257, 259, 270-7, 290, 297-9, 
820-1, 827, 345-6, 850, 855, 357, 360, 
862, 868, 871, 879, 381-2, 385, 388, 
891, 894, 396-7, 407-10, 412; II 1, 
2-6, 8-12, 16-25, 28, 43-4, 47, 52, 67-9, 
78-7, 90, 93-4, 101, 107-8, 118, 121, 
124, 130, 133-4, 139, 146-7, 160, 164, 
180, 204, 217-8, 221, 231, 246, 248, 
250, 269, 285-9, 818-4, 821, 838-40, 
843-7, 849-52, 354-8, 860-4, 367-8, 

377, 382, 884-6 

Times and The Daily Mail, II 286-7 
Times campaign, II 2-6 
Times, Error of the New York, II, 865-6, 
868 

Times in the Twelve Days, II 2-12 
Times, Policy of The, II 339 
Times, Po\#r of The, II 339-86 
Tisza, Count, I 197, 220-2, 224, 295, 
358; II 152 

Tittoni, I 227-8, 246-7, 372-3 
Togo, Admiral, I 214, 217 
Tonnelat, Lieut., II 192, 199, 211 
Tornielli’s telegram, I 149 
Torpedoes, Japanese and Russian, I 213 
Torre, Dr. Andrea, II 183-4 
Tosti and the Pope, I 172 
Toynbee, Arnold, I 6 
Toynbee Hall, I 6 
Transatlantic flight, II 848-4 
“Transformism,” I 186 
Transvaal, I 68 
Trauttmannsdorff, Count, I 405 
Treaty of London, II 68, 61-8, 127-8, 
180, 167, 169-71, 174, 180, 188, 210, 
275, 278, 828, 332 
Treaty of Reinsurance, I 42 
Treaty of Windsor, I 887 


Treaty of Versailles, see Peace Treaty 
Treitschke, Professor, I 16, 26, 66-7 
Treowen, Lord, II 126, 129 
Trevelyan, Charles; II 16 
Trevelyan, G. O., II 103 
Trieste, II 61, 167 

Triple Alliance, I 114-5, 187-90, 228, 
232 

Triple Alliance and Italy, II 56-61 
Triple Alliance in Far East, I 62 
Triple Alliance renewed, I 863 
Triple Alliance, see also 
Germany 
Austria 
Italy 

Tripoli and Italy, I 150 
Troelstra, II 151-2 
Trotsky, II 808, 898 
Trumbitch, Dr., II 65, 68, 155, 166, 
168-9, 171, 174, 176-80, 182-4, 209, 
226-7, 262-8, 277-80, 331, 833-4 
“Trustee,” the mystic word, II 282-8 
Tsar’s toasts at Breslau, I 96 
Tschirschky, I 334, 844-5 
Tucher, Baron von, I 229-31 
Turkey, 1913, I 373-9 
Turkey’s position, 1914, II 52 
Turkish affairs, I 277-9 
Turkish massacres, I 63 
“Twelve Days,” The, II 1 
Tyrrell, Father, I 257, 269-60 
Tyrrell, Sir William, II 186 _ 

Ujsdff, I 222 

United States, see America 
Universities, German and English, I 16 
Unknown soldier. The American, II 872 

Vaillant, A., I 41 

Val, Mgr. Merry del, see Merry del Val, 
Mgr. 

Valera, Mr. De, II 861 
Vartkes Effendi, I 878 
Vasitch, I 315-6 
Vassos, Colonel, I 107 
Vaterland, Das, I SOS, 812, 819-20 
Vatican and England, I 157-8 
Vatican and Quirinal, I 188-40, 145, 169-72 
Venezuela dispute, I 60 
Venezuelan incident, I 63 
Venice with Northcliffe, II 107 
Venizelos, M., I 860; II 230, 274, 282, 
337 

Venosta, Captain Giovanni, II 104 
Venosta, Marquis, I 116, 118-20, 128-9, 
159, 161-2, 164, 192, 225-6, 228, 234 



INDEX 


417 


Yenosta’s request, I 188*90 
Verdun, II 81, 83*5, 88*92, 145 
Versailles Treaty, see Peace Treaty 
Vesnitch, II 277 
Victor Emmanuel, II 105*6 
Victor Emmanuel, III 1, 165, 168*9, 

184 

Victoria, Queen, maligned, I 67 

Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, I 112 

Vienna, Royal visits to, I 208 

Vienna, Spirit of, I 328-9 

Viennese society, I 195-6 

Vittorio Veneto, II 247 

Viviani, R., I 40 

Vladivostok, I 214-5 

Voce della Verity I 157, 159 

Vollmar, I 28-9 

Vorwa/rts , I 78 

Voska, II 42, 46-7 

Vossische Zeitung, I 88 ; II 139 

Wallace, Sir D. M., I 77 
Walter, Arthur, I 271, 273-5 
Walter, John, I 365 ; II 17, 22-3, 884-5 
War aims controversy, II 179-80 
War Cabinet, A Pacifist, II 217-9 
War mind and peace mind, II 38-9 
War summary, II 888-9 
War threatened, 1913, I 369-70 
Warburg, II 302 
Ward, Mrs. Humphry, I 4 
Ward, Wilfrid, I 133-5 
Warning in The Tiroes , I 410-1 
Washington Conference, II 362, 370-6, 
897 

Waterloo, Battle of, I 81 
Watson, Dr. R. W. Seton-, see Seton- 
Watson, Dr. R. W. 

Webbs, The Sidney, I 5; II 217 
Weber, Ottokar, I 372 
Wedel, Count, I 230-1 
Weizmann, Dr., II 392 
Wekerle, Dr., I 297-8 
Wellington or Blticher, I 81 
Wells, H. G., II 221-2 
Wells resigns, II 224 
Welserheimb, Count, I 234 
Wemyss, Sir Rosslyn, II 252 
Welt am Montag's assertions, I 97-100 
Westminster Gazette, I 6, 34, 58-9 ; II 
818, 321 

“What to Read,” I 5 
White, Henry, II 299 . 

Whitehead torpedoes, I 218 
Whitten- Brown, Lieut., II 343 
Whyte, Sir A. F., II 124 


Wiegand, Herr von, II 20 
Wilkinson, J. F., I 6 
William I, I 193 

William II, I 63, 68, 198*4, 229* 282, 
234-5, 842 ; II 21*2 
William II, a new phase, I 838*40 
William II accuses Grey, II 20 
William II analyzed by Queiroz, I 20-4 
William II and Aehrenthal, I 884, 336 
William II and Bismarck, I 13 
William II and Charles of Austria, II 
138-9 

William II and Francis Ferdinand, I 
898-9 

William II and the Archduke, I 296 
William II and the Tsar, I 84 
William II at Wittenberg, I 19-20, 24 
William II, Ballin on, II 17 
William II disavows Kruger telegram, I 
69 

William II, His ambition, I 80 
William II, His position, 1896, I 70 
William II meets Edward VII, I 267 
Wilson, General Sir H., II 140, 145 
Wilson, President, II 18-9, 109, 170, 174, 
179-82, 193, 195, 218, 240, 245, 267, 
264-8, 270-3, 275-85, 287, 289-98, 
802-4, 306-18, 323-4, 326-82, 886-7, 
394-5, 898 

Wilson and House disagree, II 291-4 
Wilson and Lloyd George, II 296-7 
Wilson and Republican Senators, II 284, 
289-90 

Wilson & the Italians, II 273, 277, 279-81 
Wilson vs. Clemenceau, II 810-4, 326 
Wilson and the Italians, II 273, 277, 279-81 
Wilson’s chief failing, II 827 
Wolff Bureau, I 85 
Wolff Bureau message, II 18-9 
“Woodrow Wilson and the World Settle- 
ment,” II 267, 281, 289, 291 
“Worker's Republic,” I 41 
World, New York, I 59, 63-6, 74-7 ; II 20 
Worthington-Evans, Sir L., II 357 

Y. M. O. A., America, II 159-60 
“Young Turks,” I 277-80, 373-9 
Younger, Sir George, II 381 
Yugoslav Committee, II 183, 235-6 
Yugoslav-Italian agreement, II 184-5 
Yugoslav-Italian meetings, II 169-79, 
181-4 

Yugoslav-Italian question, see also Italo- 
Yugoslav question. 

Yugoslav-Italian relations, II 263 
Yugoslav National Council, II 262 



418 


INDEX 


Y ugoslav- Serbian dissension*, II 883-9 
Yugoslavs proclaim independence, II 247 , 
Yugoslavs, see also 
Pan-Slavism 
Slavs, Southern 

“Yugoslevaks” and “Oeechoslavs,” II 207 


Zabern trial, I 881-5 
ZanardeUi, I 129, 184-6 
Zeit 9 I 888 
Zionism, II 891 
Zubunft on Bismarck, I 88 
Zurich visited, I 86 


rniNTFn IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMSBICA